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Croatian recipes: Čobanac – traditional meat stew from Slavonia

Čobanac, or shepherd’s stew, is a specialty from the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia. It is a traditional meat stew usually prepared in a cauldron on an open fire. 

A hearty dish perfect after a hard day’s work or to warm and fill you up on a cold night. You do not need a cauldron on an open fire however to cook it and here is a recipe you can make at home on the stove.

Usually three types of meat are used in the stew with the star of the dish being paprika. There are many variations to the recipe so feel free to add to the stew any other ingredients you enjoy.

This recipe, which will serve 10, also includes little dumplings for the stew. 


Pork shoulder-blade – 500 g
Veal shoulder-blade – 500 g
Špek/Pancetta – 100 g
Mustard – 1 tablespoon
Garlic – 15 g (granules)
Bay leaf – 4
Mineral water – 200 ml
Onions – 1.5 kg
Garlic – 5 cloves
Sweet paprika powder – 1 tablespoon
Ground hot paprika – 1 tablespoon
Pepperoni – 1 (hot)
Tomato puree – 750 ml
Red wine – 300 ml
Eggs – 2
Flour – 250 g
Salt, pepper


(Note: Recipe is for around 10 people)

1. Dice the 3 different meats into 3-4 cm cubes and put in 3 separate bowls to be marinated separately. Add to the meat garlic (granules), mustard, bay leaf, oil, salt, pepper, mineral water and mix. Let rest in fridge for 2 hours

2. Dice the onions and start to fry in oil in a pot. Add the pancetta, garlic, salt and stir and cook for 15 minutes

3. Then add the meat in order of toughness. First add the beef and cook for 15 minutes, then add the pork, then cook further for 10 minutes before adding the veal and cooking all together for 15 minutes

4. Then add the red wine, the sweet and hot ground paprika and the pepperoni. Mix all together

5. Then add the tomato puree, add some water and leave to cook on a medium heat for roughly an hour

6. To make little dumplings for the stew, in a separate bowl sieve the flour, add beaten eggs, a tablespoon of salt, approximately 150 ml of water and stir all together to form a mixture. Let it rest for a while

7. Dip a tablespoon in the hot Čobanac mixture and then scoop a bit (1/3 tablespoon size) of the flour and egg mixture and add to the Čobanac. Keep scooping bits of the mixture until its used up

8. Simmer for another 10 minutes and the dish is ready

Čobanac cooked for the whole village (Photo credit: Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL)

Dobar tek!

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