Podvarak: original recipe

Cooking with new ingredients is always exciting for me.  When you find out new products you get closer to new cultures and discover new flavours from the world. After cooking Podvarak, I discovered two new ingredients which I had never used before: sauerkraut (whole cabbage head) and smoked and cured pork. Depending on the country you live, finding a head of cabbage, as Slobodan mentions in the video, may be almost impossible. If it is so, don’t panic! You can use any canned sauerkraut and the result will be still very tasty. Just be sure that you drain all the water.

Do you have the same problem with the smoked and cured pork? It’s true that it adds a very good taste to the recipe, but it can be easily substituted by any kind of pork meat or even chicken. My recommendation is to use pork neck.

After checking some videos of the authentic Podvarak recipe, I’m thinking that my friend Slobodan was very polite. He didn’t tell me all the mistakes I made! I suppose that even so, at least the taste was good!

Next time I cook Podvarak, I will definitely make some changes.  Here they go:

– Cook the sauerkraut with the herbs and some smoked paprika for at least 10 min: Doing this you assure that the water will evaporate and the sauerkraut will be soft and juicy.

– During the last 30min remove the top of the pot and keep cooking it. The top of the Podvarak will be a bit roasted and with a beautiful golden colour.

If you want to check how the original recipe is, you can take a look to this video

Original Podvarak

  • 2,5kg sauerkraut
  • 200ml oil
  • Meat of your choice (bacon, sausages, smoked sirloin..)
  • Black pepper
  • Dried parsley
  • Smoked paprika
  • Few bay leaves
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the half of the oil. Cook the meat. When it’s done remove the meat and put the cooking oil in a pot.
  • Add the cabbage, the black pepper, the paprika and the parsley and cook the cabbage for 20 min.
  • Now is time to introduce the ingredients into the clay pot. You need to do some layers. Extend the cooked sauerkraut on the bottom of the pot, then make a layer with the meat, add some bay leaves and extend another layer of sauerkraut.
  • Repeat the process until the clay pot is full. Remember that the fist and the last layer must be always sauerkraut.
  • Cover the pot with a top or with aluminium foil and cook it in the oven for 1h at 200ºC.
  • After 1h remove the cover of the pot and cook for 30min more.



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