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Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 05:27 am

CEVAPCICI (Grilled Balkan sausages)

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Cevapcici aren’t Greek, but they’re ubiquitous in every Balkan nation, including Croatia, homeland of our house concert guitarist, Goran Ivanovic. That’s one reason I’m putting them on our meze table. The other is that they’re absolutely delicious. There are as many cevapcici variations in the Balkans as there are of meatloaf in America, but all seem to combine at least two kinds of ground beef, pork, lamb or veal. I especially like the half lamb and half beef version below. The mixture also makes a killer hamburger.

  • 1 lb. ground beef, chuck preferred
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 2/3 c. minced onion, NOT super-sweet
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic, or to taste
  • 1 T. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp. – 1 T. hot Hungarian paprika, optional
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Gently mix all the ingredients together. Test by sautéing tablespoon-sized patty, then adjust the seasonings accordingly. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before grilling to allow the flavors to develop and mingle.

Form 2- to 3-inch long/one-inch wide sausages around flat skewers (soaked ahead of time if wooden) or form into oval patties. Grill over high heat, turning once, until the outsides are browned and the meat is sizzling. Cevapcici can be served as is, on rolls, or in pitas. They can be topped with a cucumber-yoghurt tzatziki (such as is served with gyros), or raw or sautéed peppers andonions.
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