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Ispod peke: a mouth-watering Croatian 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).

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?

hot coals on the lid in ispod peke
The “bell” or lid is covered in hot embers and placed over the meat and vegetables

If you want to know more about Croatia’s gastronomy then check out:

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