Cevapi, or Cevapcici, are homemade sausages traditional of the Balkans area. This delicious street food made with mixed meats, is perfect for a party in your garden: tasty and easy to prepare thanks to simple ingredients. Here the recipe and the history of Cevapi!
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ORIGIN OF CEVAPI
The origin of Cevapi is probably Serbian and relatively recent: dated during the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into the Balkans area (XIX Century).
The term Cevaci derives from the Persian word Kebab. They are also called Cevapcici, that can be translated as Small Kebab. In North Macedonia, they are called Kebapi.
The Serbian Journalist and Novelist Branislav Nušić (1864-1938) affirmed that the Cevapi was an idea of a man called Zivko, owner of a family restaurant in Belgrade. In 1860, Zivko shaped the mixture of the Pljeskavica - the traditional Serbian hamburger - into a Kofta Kebab.
The success of this new recipe had been incredible: tons of persons started to crowing the Zivko's restaurant asking for Cevaci all day long, even at breakfast!
Ziko's was originating of the region of Leskovac, the home of another Serbian specialty: the Ajvar (here the recipe). Zivko served the Cevapi with Ajvar for the first time: a pairing that is a classic even nowadays!
The legend says that Cevaci made Zivko rich, and he decided to honor his home city, financing the building of a church.
During the first decades of the XX Century Cevapi crossed the Serbian borders becoming popular in several countries of Balkans and East Europe.
Nowadays, this recipe is considered a National dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, and Serbia.
The Cevapi recipe it is also traditional in several other countries, like North Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Austria, and North-East Italy.
Traditionally, the Cevapi mixture is composed of ground lamb, pork, and beef: all or part of them.
Besides the meat, the most used spice is paprika but is considered an optional ingredient in the original recipe. The baking soda is critical, and give to the mixture more softness.
Another critical step is the rest: once kneaded, let the mixture rest in the fridge at least 4 hours (best 12 hours).
CEVAPI PAIRINGS AND SERVING
In the countries were it is traditional, Cevapi is a typical street food, often served into flatbread (called Lepinja in Serbia, or Somun in Bosnia), along with the Ajvar, a delicious bell peppers and eggplant relish, and sliced onions.
The Cevapi sandwich is often paired with fried or roasted potatoes.
Another ideal pairing is the Kaymak, a traditional Balkans soft cheese.
CEVAPI (CEVAPICI) RECIPE
- 2 lb mixed meat (lamb, pork, beef), grounded (900 g)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp water
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp paprika (optional)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp table salt
- First, peel and mince the garlic.
- Then, pour the ground meats into a bowl, along with all the other ingredients.
- Finally, knead until well mixed, cover, and let rest into the fridge at least 4 hours (best if 12 hours).
SHAPING AND GRILLING
- Now, take a scoop of Cevapi mixture and mold into a cylindrical shape compressing the meat very well.
- Once prepared all the Cevapi, store them into the fridge, and prepare the grill or the skillet.
- Finally, grill the Cevapi until medium or well done, depending on your taste.
- Serve Cevapi hot along with pita or flatbread, and a selection of sliced onions, Ajvar dip, soft or cottage cheese, roasted potatoes, and grilled vegetables.
Amount Per Serving Calories 523Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 208mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 63g
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