My mother and me are swapping recepies today. She is cooking my Oatmeal cookies and I am making her traditional Bulgarian gjuvetche. Often people ask me what is the most typical Bulgarian dish and I am usually struggling to give an undivided answer. If I say Moussaka, I inevitably get the answer that this is a Greek dish. If I say Shopska Salad, all the neighbouring countries like Greece, Serbia, Macedonia… have a similar version of this famous salad, that claiming the unique origin of the recipe by the Bulgarians sounds somewhat suspicious. However, there is one dish that stands out as typical Bulgarian, unclaimed by any other nation and this is the simple, humble gjuvetche. The gjuvetche, is hotpot consisting traditionally of meat, vegetables and feta cheese, all layered one on top of another cooked in tomato sauce. The pièce de résistance is an egg, soft and gooey, completely smoothing the depths and richness of the remaining ingredients. There are as many variations of the gjuvetche in Bulgaria as there are households. Based on necessity, people throughout the centuries where always adapting the recipe cooking from what was available at home at the moment, enriching this dish to an upmost perfection. No wonder it is so much loved by so many people. My mother’s recipe follows tradition, yet I am the one adding a new dimension by incorporating Spanish chorizo within the base ingredients. The result is heaven – deep and spicy bakes sausages, simmered in red chilly tomato sauce, enhanced by the bakes chorizo, soft potatoes, paprika and feta cheese, and topped with a soft egg.
(Serves 3 people)
- 3 sausages
- 1 Chorizo sausage, cut in pieces
- 1 onion, cut in rings
- 3 potatoes, cut on thin disks
- 1 red paprika, cut in rings
- 100ml water
- 500g red chilly tomato paste
- 250g Feta cheese
- 1 egg
- fresh parsley and fresh chives to garnish
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
1. Bake the three sausages until they are almost done. Cut them in small pieces.
2. Pour two spoons of olive oil in a deep cooking clay pot. Arrange the base with the pre-cooked sausages and the chorizo. Lay on top the onion rings, the potato rings and season with salt and pepper, than cover with the tomato paste and water. Top the dish with the red paprika and sprinkle feta cheese crumbs. Cover the clay pot with a lid.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 225C. Set the clay pot inside and bake for one hour until the potatoes have softened. Crack an egg in the middle of the dish and return it to bake in the oven for 10 more minutes.
4. Serve by garnishing with fresh herbs.