Croatians big love affair with soup
- by croatiaweek
- in Food & Wine
One prominent Croatian cultural trait is the love for soup. This affection for soup can be traced back to its long history and diverse culinary influences. Croatians have been preparing soups for centuries, and they take pride in their ability to create some of the most delicious kinds.
The Croatian love for soup is not just a matter of taste; it’s a part of their daily lifestyle. I always remember how shocked my non-Croatian friends were when they learned that I would eat soup at least 3 times a week.
They were even more flabbergasted when they discovered we ate soup at home most days and even during the hot summer months. Soup in summer was unheard of for many of my friends who never ate soup at home at all and had a distain for it.
Croatians are big subscribers to a good plate of soup being a medicinal food, providing nourishment, essential nutrients and having healing properties.
Soon as there are any signs of a weakening immune system a big pot of soup will be cooked in a Croatian household.
Croatians eat soup at home typically as a light meal or an appetizer before the main.
Croatians take pride in using fresh and seasonal produce, and they make sure to use locally sourced meats and vegetables whenever possible. This commitment to quality is reflected in the taste of their soups, which are often simple yet delicious, and bursting with flavour.
Almost like magicians, they also have a knack, particularly the elder generations, to make a delicious, hearty soup from what they can find at home. Croatians love to make soups from anything – chicken, meat, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, cauliflower…
When visiting most Croatian restaurants there will usually be a soup section on the menu with a number of options.
Croatians love for soup can be seen when you visit any of the farmers’ markets in Croatia. Most will sell specially made up packets of parts of the chicken just for soup, as well as grincajg – a bundle of the necessary vegetables for soup like carrots, celery, parsley, cabbage leaf and kohlrabi.
If you ever find yourself in Croatia, be sure to try one of their famous soups, and you’ll understand why Croatians love their soups so much.
Below are some of the most popular Croatian soups (click on name for recipe);
“Goveđa juha” – this is soup made from a piece of beef (with bone) and vegetables like onions, carrots and celery. The meat from the soup is then used for the main meal, usually with a side of potatoes, salsa or salad.
“Kokošja juha” – this is basically chicken soup and is cooked very similar to how the beef soup is made. Most will add either vermicelli or a type of dumpling.
“Riblja juha” – this means fish soup. Croatians love fish soup, especially on the coast. Fish heads and vegetables are used to make a tasty broth and usually cooked rice is used instead of vermicelli.
“Zagorska juha” – this is a traditional soup from the northern Croatian region of Zagorje which was popular in the old days and was a classic ‘peasants’ dish which would be a meal for the family. Mushrooms, potatoes, pancetta and vegetables are the stars.
“Maneštra” – this is a type of minestrone and popular in Spring using fresh ingredients. Zucchini, peas, carrots, corn, onions, wine, celery and other vegetables and spices are used to make this hearty soup.
“Pileći ujušak” – pileći ujušak or ajngemahtec is a variety of chicken soup.