Bulgarian Meals Recipes
Favorite traditional meal recipes
2 medium sized onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped
some chopped parsley
2 cleaned and boned mackerels
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbsp oil
Sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, add the tomatoes, wine, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Spread half of this sauce evenly in baking dish. Place the mackerels on top. Cover with the remaining sauce. Preheat oven to 400F and bake for 40 minutes.
This dish used to be prepared at the Rila Monastery kitchen. Rila Monastery is one of the most famous Bulgarian tourist attractions and a milestone in Bulgarian culture and religion - it has survived almost untouched throughout the years of the Ottoman Yoke and has provided a shelter and education to many people in the years of oppression.
2 lbs beef
4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lbs mushrooms
1 cup rice
1 onion, chopped
15 olives, whole
a bunch of parsley
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups beef stock
black pepper, paprika and salt
Cut the beef into cubes or small pieces and fry in a pan with a little oil for about 5 minutes or until brown. Add the onions, beef stock and paprika, 5 minutes later add the mushrooms and rice and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt to taste, butter, sugar and olives, and cook for another 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Transfer the content of the pan into a baking dish and cook for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper before serving.
Mish-Mash (Eggs, Peppers, Cheese)
Literally translated mish-mash means hodge-podge. This is a very tasty meal which I grew up on as my parents were never home to prepare lunch and it takes 10 easy minutes to make.
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 red peppers, chopped
1 onion chopped,
2 tbsp oil,
1/2 lbs cheese, crumbled (feta),
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and the peppers and cook until onions are golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for additional 3 minutes. Add the cheese and eggs and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Delicious with toast.
Patatnik (Potato Dish)
You can prepare patatnik as a main course on Ignazhden. In the old times during cold winter months potatoes used to represent one of the main foods of the Bulgarian diet. They have even been used to make bread.
6 tbsp flour
1/2 cup oil
1 tbsp butter. melted
For the filling:
3 lbs potatoes, grated - around 10 big ones
4 onions, grated
3 eggs, beaten
1 spoonful of fresh mint (or dried oregano)
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
Make a soft paste of the flour, 1/2 cup oil and as much water as necessary. Leave it for 15 minutes at room temperature, then divide it in two parts, one of them a little larger than the other. Spread the smaller mass to form a sheet 4-5 cm larger than the bottom of your baking dish. Mix together the grated potatoes and onions, the beaten eggs, the mint and the salt. Place the bigger part of the paste in a buttered baking dish, spread around to form a sheet in a way that it covers the baking dish and sticks out at all ends. Add the filling and cover with the smaller sheet you already prepared. Turn the ends of the first sheet inside and pinch the two sheets together to prevent the filling from coming out when baked. Bake the meal at 375F for about 25 minutes or until it turns rosy.
Kapama (Stewed Lamb with Onions)
1 lbs lamb meat, chopped in cubes
2 tbsp vinegar,
1/2 cup wine
3 tbsp flour to cover the meat with
ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp tomato paste
a pinch of cinnamon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
a pinch of mint or oregano
bay or laurel leaves
Prepare a marinade of the water, vinegar, wine, pepper, mint, parsley, laurel leaves, and steep the meat in it for about 2 hours. You can cut it in pieces before or after doing this. Roll the bits of meat in the flour and fry them in the hot oil. Add salt, pepper, the tomato paste, cinnamon and garlic. Add also two glasses of water and let the meat stew until the sauce is thickened. Serve with a salad of boiled potatoes. Sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley immediately before serving.
This recipe works with any meat as well as it works with pork. Give it a try!
1.5 lbs meat, cut into cubes (pork, beef or
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, sliced
1 Italian pepper, sliced
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
5 potatoes, cut into cubes
1 can (6-8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 tbsp. parsley
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup oil (optional)
Put the meat in a pan, add the salt and oil,
cover and cook at medium heat, stirring
occasionally for about 15 minutes. Add the
carrot and onion to the meat and stir. Add the
celery and green pepper in about 5 minutes and
stir. In another 5 min. add paprika, water and
stir. As you probably have guessed it, stirring
is important for this recipe. Cover and cook for
30 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for
another 15 minutes. Add the tomato sauce,
parsley and stir. Cook for 5 minutes then turn
off the heat and let the pan stay on it for
another 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with
Note. If you cook chicken, reduce cooking time to 10 min. instead of 1/2 hour.
lb. lamb meat, cut into cubes
5 bunches of scallions, chopped
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp butter (optional)
Put lamb in a wide baking dish. Add 1/2 cup hot water and the butter, cover and put in the oven for about 2 hours at 300F. After the first half hour add the onions, salt, paprika, black pepper and the water, stir and continue cooking. Add 1/2 cup of water in another 30 minutes, stir. Repeat adding the water every 30 minutes until the two hours elapse. Cover with a baking sheet and cook for additional 1/2 hour (2.5 hrs total cooking time). Serve warm sprinkled with parsley.
Imambayalda (Babaganoush, Stuffed Eggplants)
This recipe is actually Turkish but it has been deeply rooted in Bulgarian national cuisine ever since the years of the Ottoman Yoke. My grandpa told me that according to the legend, when the Turkish Imam (a ruler of a province) stopped at a small roadside hanche (pub) he asked for a plate for this favorite food of his, called something else at the time. It was prepared so well by the cook that the Imam asked for another one, and another one, and several more after that. He eat so much that at the end he couldn't move but could only say 'Imam bayalda' - meaning 'The Imam feels sick'. He probably passed out after that but that's just a guess.
6 tomatoes, grated
5 onions, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 celery, grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
half a lemon,
1 bay leaf,
half a cupful sunflower oil,
Remove the top of the eggplants and scoop out the soft insides (you should end up having 4 hollow eggplants with half of their meat still on the sides). Heat the oil and cook the onions until golden. Add the carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic and parsley, add the bay leaves and some water and sauté for 5 minutes. Stuff the eggplants with this mixture (you can add some of their meat you scooped out if you don't have enough ingredients to fill them with), top with a slice of tomato and bake in a 375F oven for 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Lamb Drob Sarma (Lamb Liver with Rice)
lbs lamb liver, hearts, and kidneys, cut into
1/2 cup rice,
2 bunches of scallions, finely chopped
1 cup yoghurt,
1/2 cup butter,
Boil the meat in salt water for about 30 minutes. Cook the onions in the butter and some water for about 5 minutes, add the rice, meat, pepper and mint and cook for 5 more. Add 2 cups of the lamb stock and boil 20 minutes. Add the rice mixture and the meat in a cooking pan, put in the oven and bake 30 minutes at 375F. Beat the eggs with the yoghurt, pour over the lamb and rice and bake for another 10 min.
1 lbs veal, cut into small cubes
4 onions, finely chopped
1/2 a celery,
1 tbsp tomato paste,
1 tbsp flour,
1 tsp paprika,
1 cup wine, preferably red
1 bay leaf,
ground black pepper,
1/2 cup oil,
Fry meat in oil adding a little water and the and some water and the onions, celery and carrots. When tender add the tomato paste, add some more water, the flour and paprika. Add the wine, the bay leaf and pepper and simmer on a low fire, adding water if necessary. The meal should have relatively thick sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley before serving.
lbs potatoes, chopped in cubes or sliced in
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tbsp seasoned salt (or breadcrumbs) or 2 vegetable soup cubes
a pinch of black pepper
1/2 lbs cheese (Swiss or mozzarella work great)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, dill, mint, finely chopped
Cook the potatoes in a cup of water until tender - about 20 minutes at 375 F - in a covered pot. You can also boil or steam the potatoes, or cook them in the microwave. To make the cheese béchamel sauce - fry the flour in the butter for 3 minutes, add the milk and stir until smooth sauce forms. Add the cheese and stir until it completely melts. Add the béchamel sauce to the potatoes and mix well. Cook in the oven for another five minutes. You may top it with grated cheese and bake it in an open pan until a golden crust forms.
Panagyurski Eggs (Eggs Panagyurski Style)
This dish is named after Panagyurishte, a small town full of history, one of them - this great recipe. In essence it is poached eggs with yogurt with a little twist.
1 cup strained yogurt
1 tsp oil
a pinch of paprika
salt to taste
2 tbsp of vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
1/4 gallon water
Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt to about 1
liter (1 quart) of boiling water. Break the eggs
directly into the water. Boil for 3 to 5
minutes, depending on how runny you like your
eggs. Mix the yogurt together with the crushed
garlic and very little salt. Put the eggs on top
of that mixture. Heat the oil and add the
paprika very carefully not to burn it (it takes
10 seconds or less to burn so be careful).
Immediately pour the curried oil over the eggs
and the yogurt mixture and serve.
Note: A friend of mine used to prepare the dish by adding some crushed feta inside the yoghurt mixture which adds a tasty twist to its taste.
Gyuveche is a popular catch-all dish you can make with just about anything you have in the fridge. It gets its name from the pottery (earth ware) dish that it is prepared and served in (pictured)
1/2 lbs cheese - anything is ok but please find
and use feta
1 tbsp parsley, dill, mint, finely chopped (or any herbs will also do)
any kind of cooked chicken, pork, or beef - optional
any kind of sausages or hot dogs - optional
vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, small hot pepper, mushrooms, cooked potatoes - optional
fresh greens: parsley, dill, celery leaves - optional
Chop or dice all ingredients that you have gathered. Make alternating layers of cheese, meat, and vegetables, but make sure you have cheese on top. Bake in the oven at 375F for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Break the egg on top and put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
This is a typical Bulgarian winter dish. Since most people pickle large quantities of cabbage at home, it is easy to make. The pungent smell of baking cabbage gives some coziness in cold winter days.
3 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp pepper
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup vinegar
salt to taste
3 chopped tomatoes
2 chopped peppers
Chop will the cabbage, peppers and tomatoes and
mix well. Add 1/2 to 1 cup water and transfer to
a baking dish. Bake about 1.5 hours, or until
the cabbage softens. Stir often. This dish is
more often prepared using pickled cabbage. Then
no vinegar or salt is added.
Hint: Try preparing this with cooking a rack of ribs or a full chicken in the same pan at the same time.
Shishche (Shashlik, Meat Skewer)
Shishche is a small shashlik. The recipe for both is the same.
2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into big cubes
100 ml vodka
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
Pieces of onion
red or green pepper
Some baby mushrooms
The secret of the shishche is that the meat should soak in a marinade for at least 3 hours. To prepare the marinade use your favorite marinade or sauce or prepare the following one - mix the honey, mustard, vodka, salt and pepper. Soak the meat pieces into it and leave the bowl in the refrigerator. Use a skewer to arrange alternating pieces of the meat cubes, onion, pepper, pieces of bacon, sausage, mushrooms, cucumber, tomatoes, according to your preference. Grill on a barbecue until the meat is done to your liking
Sirene po Shopski (Cheese Shopski Style)
There is no good translation of this meal's name but it definitely comes from the Sofia region. Shopski is the adjective for shop, a mythical person believed to live in or around the city of Sofia. There are a lot of stories for how smart industrious and stubborn these people are but this is not the point here, the point is that after all they left us a pretty good recipe.
1 lbs white cheese (feta)
1/3 lbs cheese (mozzarella works great)
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 roasted peppers, chopped
a pinch of oregano and parsley
Take two small pottery (earth ware) pots (pictured) and put in each a layer of cheese, then a layer of peppers and tomatoes, then more cheese. Close the pots with the lids and bake for 20 minutes in 375F oven until the cheese on top is melted. Break an egg on top of each dish and cook for 5 minutes or until the egg is the consistency you like it.