CROATIA: Pašticada


  • 1.5 kg beef (such as beef round or rump roast)
  • 200 grams bacon or pancetta (thinly sliced)
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 500 ml beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for thickening)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional, for richness)


  1. Make small incisions in the beef and stuff them with slices of bacon or pancetta. Season the beef with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sear it on all sides until browned. Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.
  3. In the same pot, add the chopped onions, carrots, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are softened.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, cloves, rosemary, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to release the flavors.
  5. Return the beef to the pot and pour in the red wine and beef broth. The liquid should cover the beef, so adjust the amounts if necessary.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the beef is tender and easily falls apart.
  7. Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside. Strain the sauce and discard the solids.
  8. In a separate small bowl, mix the flour with a little water to make a smooth paste. Gradually whisk this paste into the strained sauce to thicken it. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
  9. Optional: Just before serving, swirl in the butter to add richness to the sauce.
  10. Slice the beef and return it to the pot with the thickened sauce. Gently reheat the dish until warmed through.
  11. Serve the Pašticada hot with traditional Croatian side dishes such as gnocchi or homemade pasta, and enjoy!

Note: Pašticada is often marinated overnight before cooking to enhance the flavors.



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