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Skradin risotto - old family recipes for the gastronomic pearl of Dalmatia

Skradin risotto - old family recipes for the gastronomic pearl of Dalmatia

Skradin risotto - a gastronomic discovery of Dalmatia

We will begin this article with the assumption that you came to Croatia during the most desirable period - the summer months, and that you plan to spend your vacation in Croatia in the sun, as close as possible to the sea, and ideally in it. However, in the rare moments spent outside the beach, it is definitely worth exploring the cities and trying local specialities. The sea, as the key element of a summer vacation, also entails assumptions about the type of food that characterizes places along the coast.

Of course, we are referring to the seafood specialities that Mediterranean cuisine is known for - fish and seafood. However, in Dalmatia, near Sibenik, in a very unusual location, there is a small town that defies assumptions, and its name is Skradin. This town is famous for its veal risotto, which also delighted the famous chef Anthony Bourdain, whose recipe is passed down from generation to generation.

aerial-view-of-a-hilly-landscape-on-a-summer-day-with-a-bay-where-the-city-of-skradin-lays-by-the-sea

Namely, Skradin is a city with a rich history that was also marked by the Romans, calling it "Scardona" and using it as one of the administrative centres in the roman province of "Dalmatia". The city was located at the intersection of trade routes and its favourable geographical position influenced the availability of products, and in connection with this, the preparation of meals.

Therefore, do not be surprised if among the recipes for Skradin risotto as an old, autochthonous dish you see an unusual ingredient for Dalmatian cuisine - nutmeg! However, the key elements of this dish are similar to those for the preparation of other risottos - rice, quality stock and the speciality of this delicacy is veal. Skradin risotto has always been a dish associated with celebrations in these parts, where numerous people participate, because the preparation is long and exhaustive.

Ingredients-for-a-risotto-are-on-a-wooden-table-around-a-pot-to-be-sautéed-in-the-onions-with-a-wooden-spoon-top-view

It is not quintessentially certain or proven who is the author of the recipe for this dish, but it is known that it has been passed down from generation to generation among old Skradin families for over a hundred years, and it is still passed down that way today. According to tradition only men participate in the preparation of this risotto, but as with other events that were traditionally reserved only for men, today everyone participates in the preparation - regardless of gender and age.

The total preparation of the risotto can last up to 2 days, while the cooking alone can take up to 12 hours. Everything starts with large pots and chopping a large amount of onions into pieces, which are then sauteed in one of the pots. In the second pot, stock consisting of veal, some chicken and root vegetables is prepared, which should be cooked slowly, the longer, the better. Namely, the stock, as in other risottos, not only serves as a liquid for cooking the rice in the final step, but also spices up the entire dish, so it is important that it achieves an aromatic and strong taste.

hand-of-a-cook-adding-grated-cheese-to-a-pot-of-risotto-while-holding-it-and-mushrooms-rosemary-and-cheese-beside-it

For the further preparation of the risotto base in the first pot, veal meat (veal rose), which must be completely cleaned and cut into cubes, is added to the sauteed onion. From this point on, any help is welcome because frequent mixing is necessary, which in large pots is not possible with an ordinary wooden spoon, so a paddle like spoon is often used as a substitute. As already mentioned, Skradin risotto is the highlight of any celebration, so the preparation itself is an opportunity for the family to gather and prepare this demanding dish together. This is followed by additional pieces of meat and spices to improve the taste and braising for 5+ hours.

After that, the decision is up to you - do you still have the strength to continue and finish the meal or is it transferred to the next day. The final steps of the dish are combining the base and stock by perfectly cooking the rice in it, so that the risotto becomes creamy, which is also achieved by adding grated cheese. Even the famous Anthony Bourdain in his show "Bourdain: No Reservations" was impressed after tasting Skradin risotto during his visit to Croatia.

top-view-of-a-wooden-bowl-filled-with-risotto-and-a-spoon-garlic-and-a-pepper-mill-next-to-it

The traditional and interesting process of preparing this dish will of course be just a nice anecdote from your summer trip, so leave the cooking to the masters and enjoy all the flavours of this speciality with a glass of local wine. However, due to the long preparation of the meal, do not forget to make reservations in restaurants. The restaurants Skala and Cantinetta in Skradin, as well as Konoba Vinko in Sibenik are especially famous for Skradin risotto. Enjoying this dish will also be complemented by the special location of Skradin, like a bay due to its indentation in the continental part of the country.

For those staying in one of our villas in this part of Dalmatia, it will be even more interesting that the Krka National Park and the place where the Krka River flows into the Adriatic Sea are located nearby.


Josipa Primorac

17.1.2023
 
+385 1 222 70 50