14 August 2011

Peka time!

I've heard about peka.  I've seen pictures of peka.  I've had peka described to me.  But for the first time in my entire life, I was able to enjoy peka this summer.

Peka refers to food that is slowly baked in a cast iron pan that is covered with a cast iron lid, and then covered in hot coals.  The cast iron pan and lid is also referred to as a peka. 

Without going into great detail, it is important to get fresh meat or fish, freshly peeled potatoes, some onions, maybe a carrot or two, and a bit of salt.  And arrange it all in the lower part of the pan.

Here, I've cut up one whole chicken, and added a tiny bit of salt and oil, and some fresh rosemary. Then added potatoes.  Then covered it with the cast iron lid (which weighs a ton).  And then placed the whole thing in the outdoor bbq area (known as the rostilj here in Croatia), and covered it with hot coals.  Then baked it for about 90 minutes.

Forgot to mention I also added some onion and garlic.

Really does weight about a ton.

Wood coals have been in the making for about 90 minutes.  This ain't exactly fast food.

Yep.  Looks done to me.

Wow.  The meat somehow comes out roasted and crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside.  And then there's the potato-alchemy that happens.  They come out golden and crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. 

The chicken worked out great.  So did the goat, lamb and pork ribs that we tried on different days.  I haven't had the chance to try octopus in there...but you'll be the first to know when it happens.

Hope y'all are having a fantastic dinner tonight!  I know I am :-)


tinica said...

In the US, I have dreams about meals cooked ispod peka, and have been trying to re-create these beloved dishes (hobotnica and janjetina - octopus and lamb are my favorites) with no success. But I cannot find the peka here, and it's too heavy to bring home as excess baggage. The only solution is to return to my island escape over there, and use my own roštilj. My neighbors all have pekas I can borrow.

Gabriella said...

It somehow isn't the same in Canada too. None of the Croatian recipes I tried there were quite the same as when they are prepared here. Maybe it is the ingredients?