I happen to be staying right now in the small town of Idrija in Slovenia, a picturesque Balkan enclave surrounded by mountains and evergreen forests where you know all your neighbors and never lock the front door at night. As this is my first time in this part of the world, and I came in with no expectations, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. The people are friendly and affable; the climate in this alpine region is still sunny and warm in September (though I’m told this is another one of those global warming anomalies); and the food is not at all bland.
Last night, I had to try the local specialty, Cevapcici, which is casing-less sausage–usually made from pork or lamb–though the ones I had were made of veal. Though it’s slightly spiced with the seasoning of choice here–paprika–I had to introduce some crush, dried, bird’s eye peppers into the mix and a little local merlot for good measure (you can buy a decent bottle here for 2-3 Euros).
We grilled these little sausages along with onions, green peppers, and roasted garlic, and I also made an accompanying tabouli salad with chopped parsely (fresh from my friend’s back yard garden), tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple to prepare, the cevapcici was ready when they acquired a nice char, and the results were fantastic.
Cevapcici obviously comes from the Middle East and India where I have had similar grilled meat (i.e. kofta kebabs), but the seasoning is subtle yet special. It’s probably due to the good-quality paprika which comes from this region in flavors ranging from sweet to spicy. My friend flinched when I poured a little local red wine over the marinating sausages, but I couldn’t resist because the lack of a casing allowed them to soak up more flavor. These are also pretty easy to make at home using any kind of ground meat–pork, lamb, or beef.