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Croatian Beef Stew Pasticada [Recipe]

croatian beef stew pasticada recipe
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Pasticada is a cherished dish from Dalmatia, a picturesque region of Croatia known for its crystal-clear seas and rich culinary traditions. This Croatian beef stew is traditionally prepared for significant holidays and celebrations like weddings and baptisms. It features a sumptuous mix of beef cooked in a sweet and sour sauce, made unique with root vegetables, black wine, and prunes. Whether you’re enjoying it at a festive gathering or a cozy dinner at home, this recipe brings a taste of Dalmatian hospitality right to your table.

Why Will You Love this Recipe?

  • Rich and Flavorful: The combination of beef, aromatic spices, and a robust wine-infused sauce results in a deep, complex flavor profile. It’s a hearty meal that truly satisfies.
  • Cultural Heritage: Pasticada is a symbol of Dalmatian tradition and hospitality. Serving this dish is like offering a piece of Croatian history and culture.
  • Versatile and Forgiving: Though traditional, the recipe allows for variations. For instance, if you prefer a lighter sauce, you can opt out of using carrot, which tends to sweeten and thicken the sauce.
marinating the beef for pasticada beef stew
how to cook croatian beef stew pasticada

Recipe Variations

  • No Carrot, No Problem: If you’re not a fan of carrots or prefer a less sweet stew, simply omit them from the recipe. The stew will still be delicious with the other root vegetables providing depth.
  • Add a Splash of Prošek or Vinegar: Enhance the sweet and sour profile by adding a bit of Croatian Prošek (dessert wine) or a splash of vinegar to the sauce.
  • Play with the Spices: Feel free to experiment with additional cloves or even introduce other spices like bay leaves or juniper berries to tailor the flavor to your liking.
croatian beef stew pasticada

Tools You’ll Need

  • Deep Pan: Ideal for searing the beef and simmering the stew slowly, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully.
  • Hand Blender: After the stew is cooked, you’ll need to blend the vegetables into a thick sauce that envelops the meat wonderfully.
  • Sharp Knife: Essential for precisely cutting the beef and chopping the vegetables before marinating.

Other Recipes You’ll Love

croatian beef stew pasticada

Croatian Beef Stew Pasticada

Author: Laura Bais
This Croatian Beef Stew Pasticada is a labor of love that brings together rich flavors and traditional cooking techniques, making it a memorable meal that's worth every bit of effort.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Croatian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 767.6 kcal


Meat and Marinade:

  • 1.8 pounds beef round
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 small piece of celery root (celeriac)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2.8 ounces bacon
  • 2 dried plums
  • 4 cloves
  • 3.5 cups red wine or more if needed

For Cooking:

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 kohlrabi or celeriac
  • 2.1 quarts beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves

Finish with:

  • 2/3 cup red wine
  • 3 plums
  • 2 cloves

Side Dish:

  • 1.1 pounds gnocchi


  • Slice the beef into roughly 1-inch thick pieces. Marinate with chopped vegetables, bacon, plums, cloves, and red wine for 24 hours.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan. Sauté onions, then add chopped carrots and kohlrabi.
  • Remove beef from the marinade (discard the marinade), dry it with paper towels, and add to the pan. Add bay leaves and cover with beef stock. Reserve extra stock to add during cooking.
  • Continue to simmer for about 3 hours, occasionally adding more stock as needed.
  • Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, remove the beef and bay leaves. Blend the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Return beef to the pan, add additional plums, wine, and cloves, and simmer gently for another 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy this rich, flavorful stew with a side of gnocchi.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 767.6kcalCarbohydrates: 72.1gProtein: 62.3gFat: 22.4gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11.2gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 126.6mgSodium: 1.561mgPotassium: 2.049mgFiber: 6.6gSugar: 14.2gVitamin A: 5.272IUVitamin C: 16.4mgCalcium: 155.5mgIron: 10.8mg
Keyword beef stew recipe, Croatian recipes, Mediterranean, pasticada
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