CHEF and blogger Paul James writes for our paper.
I’m visiting Slovenia for a couple of days to attend a wedding for my nephew and his lovely bride to be.
I’ve also agreed to do a review at the accommodation where I’m staying, which is only a stone’s throw from the lovely ‘Lake Bled’ – things you do for a discount…
Slovenia – if you do not already know – is in central Europe and well-known for its mountains, ski resorts and lakes.
The town of Bled, a popular tourist destination from visitors all over Europe, contains a church-topped islet,
The small island in the middle of the lake is home to the Assumption of Mary pilgrimage where visitors frequently ring its bell – due to an old folk tale claiming it provides good luck.
Well if that’s the case, I can see myself rowing over to there a few times, as I need all the luck I can get.
Bograc is a traditional Slovenian meat stew which by folklore was introduced by Hungarian shepherds when Prekmurje was under Hungarian rule.
This region in the upper eastern region of Slovenia is mix of Slovenian, Hungarian and Croatian cultural influences.
Bograc is a one-pot dish that is unsurprisingly reminiscent of the Hungarian goulash dish, due to its location and cultural background and usually contains three sorts of meat, but as this dish is all about my nephew’s and his bride’s wedding and the fact they are vegans, I thought I would tone it down on the meat front a tad.
In fact this dish could be turned into a vegan variation by using the ingredient ‘Seitan’
‘Seitan’ made from wheat gluten, mimics the taste and texture of meat and and can be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans.
But to be honest my last encounter with this ingredient went horribly wrong when making a vegan donner kebab. Because of its elasticity, I underestimated its time in the fridge, when formed in the shape of a kebab. To cut a very long story short, it expanded that much it burst out of its cling film and foil wrapping.
Anyway back to the Bograc dish, which was named after Bogracs—a traditional cauldron in which it is still prepared today.
To be honest I’ve tinkered with this recipe like all cooks do – you could add extra meat if you wish, swap the fresh tomatoes with tinned.
Recipes are just guidelines for a cook to adjust.
But whatever you do, please stay away from the expanding ‘Seitan’
Visit recipesfrommytravels.com for more of Paul’s recipes and his blog.
2tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
2tsp sweet paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 pork loin steaks (or diced pork if you want)
1tbsp plain flour
1tbsp tomato puree
1 pack of good quality tomatoes (such as piccolo) squashed with your fingers.
600ml of vegetable stock
1 jar of roasted peppers
Chopped fresh parsley
1tbsp of white ground pepper (for seasoning)
2tsps of chilli powder
100ml of red wine
1. Switch you slow cooker to high.
2. In a medium heated frying pan, add the oil and gently fry your pork until it’s nicely seared. Push to one side and add the onion, garlic, flour, chilli and paprika then mix.
3. While the onions are gently frying until translucent, add the vegetable stock and wine to the slow cooker, then your tomatoes and roasted peppers.
4. Give it a good stir then add the pork and onion mix from the frying pan.
5. Lower the slow cooker down to a medium setting and leave to infuse all of the spices and flavours for at least four hours.
6. Season with the white pepper for added taste and heat
7. To serve, remove the pork from the slow cooker and gently place on a warm plate.
8. Add the handful of chopped parsley to the sauce mix in the slow cooker and stir through. (If you think the sauce is not thick enough for your liking, just add a bit of cornflour mixed with water).
9. Then drizzle the sauce over the pork steaks and serve with smooth and creamy mashed potato.