The origins of mlinci may not be set in stone, but one thing for sure is that it’s very much embraced by the folk around the Zagorje region, in northern Croatia. It could have come about in the farm houses and villages hundreds of years ago, when owning a wood-fired oven was one of the utmost luxuries a household could have. Communal ovens would have been shared in a village, paid for with trade or any coins a family could afford.
Unlike dried pasta made with hard flour that allows it to be store for long periods of time, mlinci is made with soft flour. And thanks to being cooked (traditionally over hot flames), it can be stored for at least a couple of months.
Mlinci is a “baked pasta”, of sorts, perhaps even cracker-like. Rehydrated by boiling water, drained and then tossed through the hot cooking juices of a roasted turkey. The mlinci absorbs the fats and juices, bulking up an otherwise simple roast with a very tasty accompaniment. I’m sure many would say that the mlinci is the star of the meal.
Rather than roast up a turkey, I jointed a wild rabbit for this delicious peasant-style meal. Rabbit is naturally lean of fats so I added one of my favourites. Duck fat. It helps keep it moist during cooking, as do the cherry tomatoes I added. Many years have passed since I last ate mlinci, so a big thanks to my reader Aleksandra for asking me to make and share it on heneedsfood. I completely forgot about this delicious Croatian meal!
Mlinci can be prepared several days in advance, and stored in a cotton bag or well-sealed tupperware in a dry cupboard. This recipe doesn’t use the full quantity, so keep the remainder for another time. Or just keep posted for more ways to use it, as I’ve come up with some other delicious alternatives.
Check my other mlinci recipes –