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Pljeskavica

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Pljeskavica

Cuisine:

Pljeskavica is one of the most famous and widespread dishes in traditional Serbian cuisine. In Serbia, it is a popular street food that can be found in many booths.

  • 60
  • Serves 6
  • Medium

Ingredients

Directions

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Pljeskavica is one of the most famous and widespread dishes in traditional Serbian cuisine. In Serbia it is a popular street food that can be found in many booths.

It is usually cooked on a charcoal grill and is made from ground beef. Sometimes other meat such as pork or lamb is added, as well as paprika, bacon, etc.

Today, there are several different variations. The most famous is Leskovac pljeskavica, named after the town of Leskovac in southern Serbia. The traditional Leskovac Grill Festival is held there every year. In 2016 the largest pljeskavica in the world weighing 63 kg was made there.

As well as Leskovac, there are other variations such as Hajducka (pork smoked meat) and Sarska pljeskavica (stuffed with soft cheese).

Depending on the region, it is served with a variety of side dishes. In the continental northern parts of Serbia, it is served with sliced onions and sour cream in a pogaca (traditional flatbread). In the southern parts, it is served with ajvar or roasted peppers with garlic and olive oil.

The name pljeskavica comes from the way it is prepared. Namely, pljesak means clap hands.

Pljeskavica Origin

It is assumed that this type of meat preparation came to Serbia from the Ottoman Empire. However, the origin of these dishes is rooted in the Asian cradle of the first civilizations – Assyrian and Persian.

Sometimes it is called a Serbian hamburger. Apart from the shape, there are some important differences between the two dishes. Unlike hamburgers, which are made from beef and without spices, pljeskavica contains salt and pepper. Besides that, it has other additions such as onion, pepper, bacon, etc. Furthermore, it is much wider,  made of fattier meat and mixed longer to make the meat expandable.

We got our pljeskavica recipe from a friend from Novi Sad, a city from northern Serbia.

Steps

1
Done

In a bowl combine the meat, finely chopped onion and garlic, salt, pepper and oil. Knead for at least 10 minutes until you have an elastic mixture. You can also add one tablespoon of baking soda to make the mass more expandable.
From my experience, the best combination is beef and pork is because it gives a nice combination of fatty and lean meat.

2
Done

All mix well and let sit in the fridge ideally overnight, although 2-3 hours is quite sufficient.

3
Done

Shape the burgers so that they are approximately 15 cm in diameter and 6-7 mm thick. The best way to do this is to spread the mixture and use a round bowl to shape them nicely.

4
Done

Grill pljeskavica on one side until it has a nice colour, then flip over and grill slightly shorter on the other.

5
Done

Serve pljeskavica with onions, sour cream and baked beans.

Ivan Majhen

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