Many people associate sweet and sour with Asian-style cooking. A pretty valid way of thinking, but there are other cultures that like to mix things up and get the tastebuds wondering what the hell may be going on.
What I’m sharing here is pašticada, a dish that originates from the beautiful part of Croatia known as Dalmatia – an area that takes up a good chunk of the southern coastline, including its islands.
It’s quite often prepared for special celebrations and gatherings – weddings, christenings, even at wakes – and traditionally it’s frikando that’s used (the outer part of the thigh), I understand.
I’ve used pork because I needed to get through my little stash from Murray Valley Pork – generously sent to sample.
The idea behind this dish is to stud the meat with a variety of ingredients like carrots, garlic and fatty bacon. It’s generously rubbed with salt and then given an overnight bath in vinegar.
This is where the sour comes in.
The brine is discarded before the meat is slow-cooked for several hours with red wine, prunes and prošek – a dessert wine that also comes out of Dalmatia. Lucky for me there’s one place I found in Sydney that imports it, but a good old sticky would be fine.
This is where the sweet comes in, and many recipes call for other fruits to be incorporated. I guess the recipe changes from village to village, house to house, baka to baka.
The usual seasonings are added ( I used my trusty Vegeta), balancing out the sweet and sour. Once the meat cooks to tender perfection the sauce is puréed, the meat is sliced and put back into it, and the dish is heartily served with gnocchi.
Recipe adapted from here
*Duck Egg Blue French Oven supplied by Chasseur