Croatia can boast a wide variety of delicious dishes. However, the Peka is a distinct trademark of Dalmatia. The preparation Pod Pekom (under Peka) means in Croatian that something is cooked "under a baking bell". This bell is usually dome-shaped and is either made of cast iron or clay or ceramic. Hardly any restaurant offers the Peka, we do and you will be delighted.
The most important thing when preparing a peka, and it applies to almost every dish, is to use it as much as possible untreated ingredients. I will not describe every single ingredient in detail, but only give you an idea of what makes a Peka. Peka is traditionally prepared with lamb, beef, chicken or mixed meat. The meat is arranged tightly around the vegetables, sprinkled with aromatic herbs and a dash of white wine and olive oil. A very popular variety of peka in Dalmatia is prepared with squid and potatoes, which at first glance seems to take some getting used to - but I can assure you it is more than delicious! This video shows you how a Peka is assembled.
We would try the original for the first time and later experiment with new and different ingredients.
The meat and vegetables unfold their natural essences and juices during the cooking process. They flow together at the bottom of the pot and form a delicious gravy with the white wine, olive oil and all the spices. It will hardly be necessary to add any more liquid to the dish, everything will cook in its own juice, simply delicious!
The peka should be cooked at a very high temperature of about 250 °C for about one to one and a half hours. If you watch the video, you will notice that the chicken was placed on top of the other ingredients. The reason for this is that the skin of the chicken should be nice and brown (if you fry the chicken with skin). The convection processes inside the bread cover allow the crust to brown, as hot dry air from the oven is drawn in through the edge of the bread cover. The steam, however, remains trapped in the dome and keeps the meat juicy and tender!
Serve the Peka with a homemade bread. Whole-wheat bread, grey bread or kamut bread - these are great side dishes! You will also need Ajvar (red pepper paste mild or hot as you like it.) If you have the opportunity to serve an excellent Croatian wine on the spot, this is highly recommended. You will find the right wine in our vinotheque, and a good beer is also a perfect match for this dish.