Bograč is a one-pot stew recipe, somewhat evocative of the Hungarian Goulash. (The Slovenian region were the recipe comes from used to be part of Hungary up to 1919.) Calling for three kinds of meat, namely venison or boar, beef and pork, Bograč is so popular that it is often referred to as one of the national dishes of Slovenia.
Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: 2 to 4 hours
You will need: one big enough pot or dutch oven
- 1 Tbsp of lard or butter,
- 500 g (1 Lb) venison or boar, thick cut, sliced in half,
- 500 g (1 Lb) beef (shank),
- 500 g (1 Lb) pork (chuck), thick cut, sliced in half,
- 1 + ½ kg (3 Lbs) onions, diced,
- 1 kg (2 Lbs) potatoes, cut in half or in quarters (see Notes),
- 1 red pepper, diced,
- at least 1 cup of wine (red, white or both),
- 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed,
- 2-3 bay leaves,
- 2 Tsp of paprika,
- 2 tomatoes, diced,
- 10 -15 peppercorns,
- 1 pinch of ground pepper,
- 1 Tsp of marjoram,
- 1 chopped green chili pepper (without the seeds),
- Hot water.
- Take a big enough pot or dutch oven and put it on the stove.
- Put the lard or butter in, and turn on the fire to medium high.
- Wait for the butter or lard to melt and thrown the onions in.
- Saute the onions until they are translucent.
- Add your diced red pepper and crushed garlic and cook until the pepper softens.
- Now, add the meat in the following order. As you do this, if needed, add a little hot water to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Venison or boar goes in first. Brown it for 15 minutes.
- Then 15 minutes later in comes the beef.
- Then, 30 minutes later, after the beef, add the pork.
- Add your herbs, spices and the diced tomatoes.
- Add enough hot water to barely cover the ingredients, cover the pot and simmer in low fire for 1 + ½ hours, until the meat is almost done. Don’t add too much hot water; it’s better to add hot water as you go or it might turn to soup (and you don’t want that).
- Add salt and simmer for a little longer, say 10 to 15 minutes.
- Then add the potatoes and more hot water if needed to keep the ingredients covered.
- When the potatoes are done (sliding down your testing fork) add the wine.
- Simmer for another 10 minutes and you’re done.
Notes on Bograč
- The wine gives Bograč its distinctive flavour, so, bear that in mind when you choose your cooking wine. Red wine works better; white wine will do.
- Die hard Bograč fans simmer for four hours in very low fire instead of two hours in low fire. If that’s the case, then there’s a problem with the potatoes: letting them simmer for too long will turn them to mush. So, cut the potatoes in half instead of quarters and follow the recipe as is. Or, add the potatoes in the last 20 to 30 minutes. If they are new or small potatoes you can put them in whole, without cutting them.
- If you’re going for the four-hour simmer, you may want to cut down on hot water so that Bograč is cooked in its own juices. So, instead of adding hot water as it cooks, add more wine.
- To help the meat remain tender while cooking add your salt towards the end of the process and not at the beginning.
- The meat will shrink while cooking so it’s better for the raw portion to be thick. You can always cut it smaller when serving.
- Like all other stews Bograč will taste better the next, or even the third day after cooking.