Discovering Croatian Gastronomy: Delight in the Irresistible ‘Ispod Peke’ Dish

Ispod peke means “under the lid” or “under the bell” in English. This refers to how this succulent dish is cooked – by preparing the meat in a large metal dish, then placing it under a bell-like dome or lid, called peka in Dalmatia or čripnja in Istria. The meat is accompanied by potatoes and other vegetables such as onions, carrots, or courgette/zucchini. The whole dish is then drizzled with olive oil.

To add more tang and flavour, you can also pour in some white wine and throw in herbs and spices such as rosemary, bay leaves and black pepper. This metal or terracotta bell or lid is covered in hot coals and embers, placed in a fireplace and left to slow cook for 2-3 hours (half the time, meat only, half the time meat and vegetables together).

VARIATIONS

The standard Dalmatian and Istrian version is janjetina ispod peke, which is slow-cooked lamb under the bell. Lamb is not the law though! Other combinations include veal, chicken and octopus. After all those hours of cooking slowly, the meat should come out tender, almost falling off the bone. The dish is served with seasonal salads, freshly baked bread and local wine. Anybody else feeling hungry?

MORE CROATIAN FOOD AND DRINK
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