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Traditional Dalmatian Pasticada - Boeuf Bourguignon Dalmatian style

Traditional Dalmatian Pasticada - Boeuf Bourguignon Dalmatian style

Flavours of Dalmatia

In the south everything is slower. In the summer time you just need to enjoy the sun and blue sky, the sea and good food. The traditional Dalmatian pasticada can certainly be certified as good food. The Pasticada in a rich, red, sweet and sour sauce combined with good wine will delight every palate. In Dalmatia, this dish is prepared for almost all celebrations, and certainly for weddings and baptisms. Every family from Split to Dubrovnik has its own recipe and everyone swears that they use the original method of preparation.

It takes 2 days to prepare this dish in the traditional way. First, the meat is marinated in a wine marinade, after which it is "spiked", and finally stewed with vegetables, which can last up to 6 hours. Preparation includes various vegetables, which give the meat a special taste, and when everything is finished, the pasticada is served with potato gnocchi and Prosek dessert wine.

We present you with an original found in ancient Dubrovnik.


Time for preparation:

In addition to marinating, average cooking time is 3 - 4 hours.

Ingredients for 6-8 people

2 kg beef fricando

For the marinade:

1 l Prosek wine
3 leaves of laurel, sprig of rosemary

For spiking:

150 g fatty smoked pancetta
sprig of rosemary, coriander seeds, hot pepper
4-5 cloves of garlic
2-3 carrots


200 - 300 g red onions
1 leek
slice of celery, parsley root
2-3 carrots
sweet cabbage root
1 pc smaller kohlrabi
1 tbsp tomato concentrate
1 tbsp starch flour


grated nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
4-5 cloves
2-3 bay leaves and sage
2 cardamom pods
salt, pepper
3 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp pork fat (optional)
100 g Parmesan (freshly grated)


Way of preparation:


The meat must be left for at least 24 hours in marinade consisting of Prosek, laurel and rosemary. The marinated meat absorbs all the aromas of the wine, laurel and rosemary and becomes juicier.

Spiking of meat:

Spiking the meat means to pierce the meat in several places with a sharp knife and insert stripes of bacon, a clove of garlic or some other vegetable into those slits, which will fatten the meat and give it a special aroma.

You can cut the meat in half to make it easier to work with. Cut the cloves of garlic in half, cut the carrots into thick strips approx 3-4 cm long and salt them.

Pancetta - it must be fattier one or instead you can use some good bacon. Cut it into stripes of approx. 2-3 cm. Keep it in a bowl. Tear off the rosemary sprigs and sprinkle the meat generously with ground coriander. Mix it well. If desired, add flakes of ground hot pepper. Pierce the meat with a sharp knife, diagonally, and place a clove of garlic in each slit individually, a stick of carrot in the second slit, and a pancetta stripes in the third. Catch 1-2 rosemary needles each time when you stick the carrots, garlic and bacon into the meat. The number of stitches you have to make is depending on the thickness of the meat. You will add everything you have left in the sauce.

Cut root vegetables into larger pieces: red onion (gives thickness), carrot (it’s sweet, so it will soften the acidity of the marinade), celery root, kohlrabi root, parsley root.

Pour olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of pork fat into a deep dish that will fit the meat lengthwise and the vegetables on the sides. Fry the meat on all sides to get a nice color. Remove the meat, then add the chopped vegetables and tomato concentrate. The concentrate will also thicken the sauce and give it a stronger flavour. Return the meat into the dish, salt everything and cover with a litre of wine.


Now add all the other typical Dalmatian pasticada spices: cloves, grated nutmeg, a little ground coriander, a little hot pepper, and 5 sage leaves. Bring everything to boil for a moment, then immediately turn off the heat, cover and leave overnight.

The next day, let the meat cook in this sauce on low heat for approx. 3 - 4 hours, or until the meat is soft. Be careful not to burn your pasticada - occasionally stir the sauce and turn the meat.

When the fork pierces lightly into the meat, it means it’s cooked. The meat in the pasticada should not be overcooked, but neither should it be hard. Take it out on a board and let it cool down. In the meantime, focus on the sauce as this seasoning stage is the most important part of securing the dish.

The sauce needs to be strained, and this is done in one of the two possible ways - either it is strained through a very thick sieve (chinois - pressing the overcooked vegetables on the walls of the strainer) or with a classic vegetable strainer, which will strain the vegetables but also retain all the ugly, unnecessary fibres. We do not recommend the stick blender. It will just ruin the texture.

You have now obtained a strong and very thick sauce, which you must now dilute with at least half a litre of water. The sauce needs to be gently simmered for 10-15 minutes and is actually ready - you need to check its taste, saltiness, thickness. If it seems thin to you - especially since you will be pouring it over the gnocchi - you may thicken it, afterwards.

Cut the cooled meat (because you will cut it more easily when it is cooled down) into slices 1/2-1 cm thick. Put them in the sauce. Let everything boil just a little. Cover and leave warm until you cook the gnocchi.


How to serve:

Serving is very important in order for the effect of this dish to be topnotch.

It’s best when you serve the gnocchi separately in a fireproof or ceramic, preferably oblong, bowl so that they are not in too many layers and so that they can be seasoned as well as easily as possible. Place a few large spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of the bowl, then pour the strained gnocchi over the entire surface. Sprinkle a generous handful of Parmesan cheese (which is certainly the best cheese for pasta and meat sauces) on the gnocchi. In addition to the taste, it also helps the sauce to stick better to the gnocchi. Gently mix the gnocchi in the sauce and serve. We serve the pasticada meat topped with sauce in a separate bowl or deep plate. It is not necessary for the meat to "swim" too much in the sauce - you will use most of it for the gnocchi. It is enough for the meat to be covered with sauce. Every minute of preparing this dish makes it worth it. Once you try it you will agree. It is just yummmm :-)

Bon appetit!

Isabella Jelkovic

+385 1 222 70 50