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