Old Country Recipes

Čobanac (Slavonian Shepherd’s Stew)


Easter is over and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say we just celebrated Christmas. Yep, it’s true. Most of Croatia got snow over the weekend. But, seeing as the dish I’m posting today is a meaty hearty stew, I won’t complain about the cold weather because they complement each other perfectly :)

Čobanac is the de facto regional dish of Slavonia and hence its name, it was once the meal most commonly eaten by Slavonian shepherds. Essentially it’s the Croatian equivalent of boeuf bourguignon, just a little more modest. Each of the dish’s elements are cooked individually before combined with the others to enhance their flavours. Traditionally, this dish is cooked outside in a bronze cauldron hung from a tripod. But since it’s cold outside, making it on the stove works just as well.



100 grams pancetta, cut into strips about 5mm in thickness

600 grams stewing meat, cut small enough to fit on a spoon

(Note: the rule of thumb when making cobanac is to use at least 3 different types of meat; You’re really not limited in your choices but generally beef and pork are included. As for the third, choose whatever you like.)

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsps oil (canola or sunflower)

1 tbsp tomato paste

250 ml (1 cup) dry red wine

6 cups water

1 tbsp vegeta

1 tsp paprika

chilli seeds, to taste

pinch of oregano

pinch of thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper, to taste

about 4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tbsps oil + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour (stirred together to make roux/zaprska)


1.Cook pancetta in 1 cup of water in a medium frying pan for approximately 5 minutes at boiling point.

2.Transfer the pancetta along with the water into a large stewing pot. Without washing the frying pan, transfer the meat onto it until it’s cooked on all sides. Transfer it into the stewing pot as well.

3.Finally, sauté 2 cloves of garlic and onion with 2 tbsps oil until onion is translucent. Transfer to the stewing pot. Add red wine and bring to a boil.

4.When it comes to a boil, add 6 cups of water along with the tomato paste, the potatoes, and all the spices.

5.When it’s brought to a boil again, stir in the roux, reduce the heat to low, and cover the stewing pot. Let it simmer for approximately 1.5  hours, until the meat is to your desired tenderness.

Dobar Tek!  

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