(Tomatoes, Capsicums, Meat, Paprika and Rice – all in one pot!)
When I grew up in Bonn the words “Fast food” and ‘Street food” were so not used to us – they simply had not entered my generation’s vocabulary – yet!
Nor was the myriad of Middle- and Far Eastern spices known to any of us – yet!
But it introduced me to the wonderful world of spices – and I certainly have not left this ‘spice world’ – yet!
In our schools and colleges we started to learn about different countries in the world, especially on our continent, although hardly any of us had ever ventured out of Germany – yet!
For us Youngsters, a special treat after a visit to the cinema was normally a (newspaper-) cone filled with freshly made ‘fries’ with a dollop of ‘mayo’ on top.
Places like any of those now well-known Burger places, Mo-Mo Restaurants, Pizza Parlours, various Coffee- and Tea Bars, etc. etc. did not even exist in our country – yet!
But all was going to change one day – the first “foreign” Restaurant opened, just opposite the Main Train Station, in our still sleepy little town, by then already the new Capital of Germany.
My memory plays a little dance in my head – it annoys me that I cannot remember the real name of this restaurant, even searching through my box of old old notes from around the world, did I not come up with the right name. So, I herewith name this place “The Balkan Restaurant” (you never know, it just might have been its name all along).
Of course, like Youngsters all over the world, we had to explore en bloc after school/college before heading home. We thought we were in heaven no less – delicious smelling foreign food, big portions, relatively little money and when sharing a plate between 2 or even 3 people it was not a ‘budget killer’.
After having sampled through the menu once or twice soon we established a dish called by the strange name of DJUVEC was our favourite.
The word Đuveč derives from the Turkish word Güveç, which means casserole (traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot).
Having typed this so far I now feel sort of peckish (nothing was left over from yesterday when I prepared this dish from memory, more or less).
Ingredients for 2 pretty hungry people or
Ingredients for 4 with big salad and flat bread on the side
½ kg lean Meat (see notes), cleaned and cut into small pieces
1 x large onion, chopped
4 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 x large green chillies, cut finely
½ x large red Capsicum (known as Paprika in Europe), cut small
½ x large yellow Capsicum, cut small
½ x large green Capsicum, cut small
3 x large Tomatoes – skin and seeds removed and cut small
300 x g long grain Rice (I like to use top Basmati rice), wash and keep aside
1 x tsp of mild paprika powder
1 x tsp of chilli powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 x Tbsp of tomato paste
2 Tbsp Oil
1 ltr of good meat broth, keep aside
In a wide pot heat oil, add your chosen meat (see notes) and fry very quickly, stirring all the while. Take out and keep aside.
Add onion and garlic to the oil in pot and then all the Chillies, Capsicums (Paprika) and now let all this cook on low heat for a few minutes. Keep stirring often. Now add the previously fried meat, salt, pepper, paprika powder, chilli powder and the tomato paste – stir and add enough meat broth so that it just covers all this.
Cover and now let it simmer for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the meat you are using – keep checking!) If needed just add some more broth – don’t let it go dry or even burn!!!!
Halfway through add the tomato pieces. Stir once gently. Now mix your washed rice into all this and add more of your meat broth. Keep simmering for maybe another 20 minutes or so without stirring; but towards the end of your cooking time check to see if more broth is needed.
Rice should still have a nice soft ‘bite’ and the whole dish is meant slightly on the moist side rather than dry.
That’s it – all done – serve and enjoy. Guten Appetit!
Notes: You can use Pork, Beef, Veal.
I have eaten this also with some wonderful very hot sausage like ‘Chorizo’ – and it was quite delicious, too.