NK is my grandmother who was born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Being a local she knows a lot about the city and its folklore. She knows a lot about the local and traditional cuisine. The Green Menestra is another gastronomic specialty from the list of traditional, indigenous dishes of the Dubrovnik region.
“There are three kinds of green menestra (cabbage and smoked meat stew).
Green Menestra ingredients are:
– Dalmatian prosciutto
– smoked lamb
– bacon (home-smoked)
– sausages (home-made)
– cabbage (white,head)
– cabbage (green-raštanj)
– olive oil
-Various kinds of smoked pork can be used to prepare green menestra, and ingredients can be added or changed but this is the most common recipe.”
How do you make zelena menestra?
“First you want to wash the prosciutto (koljenica) and the smoked lamb in warm water and scrap if needed (smoked surface). Put in hand-hot water and cook. After a set time, add and cook the sausages and bacon. After a while you want to remove the softer pieces of cooked meat so they remain intact. While that’s going on wash the green cabbage (raštanj), and the washed kale and head of white cabbage are cut in thick pieces. Each vegetable is blanched for a short time, removed and drained. The potatoes are cleaned, washed, cut in four and cooked. When the stock boils, add olive oil, and then add all the blanched vegetables. Remove the cooked meat from the bones, and cut into serving pieces. Place the cut meat over the vegetables and cook all together for a short while on low heat. Remove from heat and keep covered for one half hour. Pile up the vegetables in a serving dish, encircle with all the meat. It should be served like this; the vegetables together with a portion of each variety of meat. Stock is poured over the dish prior to serving.”
In the original recipe, the vegetables do not have to be blanched, but then the vegetables might not have the nice green color of blanched vegetables. Also, some of the bitterness found in the vegetables disappears with blanching. The green menestra is usually prepared for a large group of people. If you never had it might taste different and unusual but it is very delicious. This specific delicacy has been in my family for generations and is a part of our culture. Nowhere in the world will you find something like this.