Out of the many traditional dishes to try , the Bulgarian Kavarma has got to be near the top of the popularity list.
The Bulgarian Kavarma is normally made with pork or chicken in a clay pot called a 'guveche' and is a very simple and easy dish to make. If you don’t own a clay pot, then a cast iron or ceramic casserole dish will be good, or any receptacle with a good lid which can be placed in an oven.
Stew or Casserole?
I know a lot of people like to call the Kavarma a Bulgarian stew, but I believe that a stew is cooked with heat from underneath, like a stove. A casserole, on the other hand is something cooked in an oven with heat coming from all sides.
Wood Fired Cooking
Back in the day, before gas and electric cookers, all meals would have had to be cooked on wood fired ovens and stoves.
By using the falling heat of an oven, a Kavarma could have been left in the pot overnight and the more affordable, cheaper cuts of meat would be cooked tender and at the same time would add more flavour to the dish.
The Bulgarian Kavarma would usually be a winter dish, being a warm and hearty meal but can obviously be eaten whenever the mood takes. I usually have mine with a salad during the summer months.
Many Kavarma dishes are prepared according to traditional local recipes which have been handed down from generation to generation. The different regions and their varied recipes of the Kavarma all add to the diversity of its cuisine.
This Bulgarian Kavarma recipe is adapted from the various styles of Kavarma we have eaten from a number of different restaurants around Bulgaria. You can adapt this recipe to suit your tastes too.
Bulgarian Kavarma Recipe
Serves 4 or ( 2 people for two nights) great meal for cutting time and cost too!
800 gms Chicken or Pork
4 Large Fresh Tomatoes
4 medium sized Potatoes
2 medium Onions
2 cloves Garlic
250 gms Mushrooms
2 Red or Green Peppers or 1 of each
Salt and pepper
½ cup of Olive oil
½ cup red or white wine
1 teaspoon of paprika
1-2 teaspoons of Chubritsa ( Bulgarian herb) 1 or 2 tsp herbs of choice instead of Chubritsa
Feta cheese or any cheese to melt over the top to finish.
Cut the chicken/pork into cubes. Add to dish
Dice the tomatoes. Add to dish
Cube the potatoes. Add to dish
Chop/Dice Onions. Add to dish.
Crush garlic. Add to dish
Chop /dice mushrooms. Add to dish
Slice Peppers. Add to dish
Add Olive oil, wine, pinch of salt, pepper and herbs to taste.
Stir and Place in warm oven.
Allow to cook for 2 ½-3 hours on 140 c (275 F for our cousins across the pond)
When cooked, place your chosen cheese on top and replace in oven until melted, approximately 5 minutes.
The dish should not be too dry so check periodically to ensure the dish has some juices. If in doubt add a little water, red or white wine.
Serving suggestions. Pitta hearth breads, chips, rice or salad. Garnish with black olives on top for effect and impress your guests.
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Chubritsa For that Authentic Taste of Bulgaria!
Chubritsa is a traditional Bulgarian seasoning with a distinctly unique flavor and harmonic aroma. It can be used on toasted breads, meats, cheeses, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, rice dishes, potatoes and more. Just sprinkle on your favorite food and enjoy!
The Bulgarian Kavarma, if cooked in a large ‘Guveche’ or casserole dish can be placed in the centre of the table to be self served.
You can also cook in separate smaller casseroles this will allow for individual tastes. For example if someone doesn’t like garlic.
The traditional Bulgarian cuisine is a mixture of classic Bulgarian meals with dishes from the Slavonic, Greek, Turkish and other European cuisines. Cooking traditions in Bulgaria are centuries old.
Recipes are greatly influenced by the 500 year invasion when they were forced to become part of the Byzantine Empire. Foods within the country vary depending on the region from which they originate.
The Bulgarian Kavarma Buzz is spreading,
Friends and family who have visited us in Bulgaria have all been introduced to the Bulgarian Kavarma courtesy of my wife’s cooking,( not mine I hasten to add, I wanted them to come back for another visit) and they have taken home the recipe. So, in the UK and in Colorado USA, the Kavarma recipe ‘fan club’ is spreading!
Please leave a comment and tell us if you did anything different and which part of the world you are from so we can see how far the ' Buzz' of the Bulgarian Kavarma is spreading.