How to prepare pasticada specialty of Dalmatia and Croatia

May 12 18:44 2021 Ivan Najbauer Print This Article

It is one of the hallmarks of the difference of every region in Dalmatia. It could be said that every region and even every place in Dalmatia has its own sights, which distinguishes it from others. One of these sights is the art of making pasticada.

This delicacy is not prepared equally in almost any place in Dalmatia. Many aromatic plants are grown in Dalmatia,Guest Posting rosemary, thyme, laurel, sage, marjoram..., etc. are added. I am not a supporter of putting rosemary and other aromatic plants in dishes like this because they are already aromatic enough. But there is a first time for everything.

All of these are, after all, similar but again different recipes. Whose tastier thing is taste but also habits. But one thing is for sure. The day this lunch is prepared is a family holiday. That day the family gathers around the family table for lunch and everyone enjoys the taste of this delicacy.

For me, the sweetest is the one prepared by my grandmother Danica, and today it is also prepared by my mother and me. In this text about pasticada and other Dalmatian beef specialties, I bring you exactly that recipe for pasticada and gnocchi of my grandmother Danica, which you will certainly not find in any cookbook.

What is pasticada ?

In Venetian cuisine, a special delicacy is a group of dishes known as "stufadin" and "pastizada". It is a beef red meat that was a day (and more) earlier in a red wine marinade with aromas, spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg), and other additives (onion, garlic, carrot, selenium, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, and laurel). It was then put to turn a little yellow on the beaten bacon on the fat, and then cooked in the marinade itself. Meat prepared in this way was eaten with macaroni, "tagliadele" (Split-plazavice), or gnocchi, puree, or turkey. Pasticada and stufadin are prepared similarly.

The difference is that with "stufadin" the meat was not previously in the red wine marinade, so the taste is less intense. Beef or horse meat (in Dalmatia puletina), mutton, boar, and rabbit can be used for pasticada. Veal, lamb, pork, chicken, rabbit are used for "stufadin", and mushrooms can be added to the dish (which is sacrilege in pasticada). We must not forget the recipe for the beef tongue on pasticada. In Dalmatia, prunes are added to prunes, but this is not the custom for everyone. It is a group of dishes of ancient origin spread over part of the Mediterranean (from Greece to Provence), and the roots are found in ancient Greek cuisine.

Dalmatian pasticada

The first time may not turn out better. But every next time you get better and better. The most important thing for pasticada is quality meat. Although frikando is increasingly used today because it is more regular in shape and it is easier to make portions from it, our ancestors always used a piece of beef rose for a good pasticada. It is much juicier but also harder to store due to its shape and thickness.

In the past, it was eaten on Tuesday, Carnival. As "Tamboko" says: "Where is the warm punch of novels, shavojards, pasticades, macaroni on the spindle?" In the Split edition of the magazine "Dom i svijet" from February 11, 1940, there is a recipe for mutton pasticada: "For pasticada, the most suitable leg is a good ripe ram with which you remove the skin, veins, and bones. Cut the leg in half, prick with cloves, pieces of oblong cut bacon, and garlic. Place one whole large onion for 1 kg of meat on the lard (a couple of teaspoons) to turn yellow.

With a diligent turn, turn yellow on all sides, then add the soup while simmering. Then add wine vinegar (a couple of teaspoons), pepper, salt, and two sugar cubes to taste and leave to cover covered with the frequent topping of the broth, in which the tomato concentrate is dissolved. Finally, cut the meat into nice slices, which will put you back in the pan again. Strain the juice, add half a glass of good red wine or prosecco and some add prunes, and let it boil for 15 hours. Serve with dry pasta. "

Pasticada recipe

2kg beef rose

Root vegetables:

1kg onion (red onion)

½ kg of carrots

1 middle celery root

1 clove garlic

10dkg dried bacon



Tomato concentrate (canned food)

Beef cube or beef broth

Bay leaf

Homemade lard (must not be rancid)

Wine vinegar (acid)



Pepper in a grain

Preparation time about 9 hours


This recipe takes a long time and a lot of patience. For this pasticada, you need a beef rose, that is, a leg of about 2 kg. The meat is first prepared for larding. Ingredients for lard are bacon, root vegetables (celery root, carrots, garlic), cloves, and peppercorns. Spicing is done by making holes in the meat with a kitchen knife. We then push carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns, and cloves into each hole. The leg thus prepared is left overnight or 1 day in wine vinegar to soften all the ingredients. Dilute the wine vinegar with half the water so that it is not too strong. The next day it is taken out of the wine vinegar and dried. Add the dried and larded beef rose to the homemade lard, which remained overnight in the mixture of yeast and water to simmer or Dalmatian šufiga.


The pot in which the beef rose is stewed must be larger in width than it. When the beef rose, that is, the leg is well fried on all sides and takes on a golden yellow color, it is coated with the onion in a piece of about 1 kilogram. When the onion in a piece, after about an hour or two of simmering, is completely withered, the other ingredients are inserted, that is, the root vegetables with which we spiced the day before. A couple of pieces of carrot, celery, 5-6 cloves of garlic and bay leaf, and a little nutmeg. Carrots, like all other root vegetables, are peeled and cut into thin pieces. Additionally, add tomato concentrate. Add water and add beef cubes or previously made beef broth stock. This kind of beef leg is cooked for a long time, about 8 hours.

It is important to constantly turn the meat so that it cooks evenly on all sides and so that all the ingredients are absorbed. Towards the very end, when you feel that the meat is soft, you should take it out and cut it into pieces. The vegetable sauce left in the bowl should be passed through a strainer. After that, return the sliced pieces to the propagated vegetable bowl and cook for another 40 minutes. Just before the end, add about a decade and a half of prosecco, or if you don't have one, take the wine and stir in the sugar. Prosecco is added to give the sauce a sweet and sour taste.

Sweet and sour taste

The sweet and sour taste can also be obtained with the addition of prunes. My grandmother always preferred good prosecco as sweet instead of prunes. To prepare this dish, with the exception of larding and preparation the day before, it takes about 9 hours of cooking. It is stored in one piece and not less than 2 kg and that is why it takes so long. In the end, every hour of effort will pay off.

We recommend good red wine with this dish. The best would be a wine with a fuller taste of pronounced tannins and strong alcohols. My choice for wine with this dish is some good plavac from Peljesac. The choice is great and the choice is up to you, to choose the right wine that will suit you with this queen of the Dalmatian table.

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Ivan Najbauer
Ivan Najbauer

We prepare pasticada as a festive dish for lunch, which is an indispensable part of every festive table for weddings, Christmas, New Year, baptisms, and other celebrations. Preparing this dish is anything but easy.

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