Exploring Croatian Recipes: The Warm, Hearty, Slavonian Bean Stew

Katarina Anđelković

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The ingredients and recipes for this perfect winter meal vary according to region, but the base is usually the same – white beans, onions, optional vegetables like carrots and parsnips, and cured meat. In Dalmatia, for example, pasta is added for extra texture and nutrition, while in most other places, a plate of hot bean stew is easily cleaned up with some fresh bread. Sides, or salads, if you like, are not always served with a bean stew, but if they are, finely chopped onions are probably the top choice. Pickled zimnica vegetables are a close second. As long as it’s salty and flavourful.slavonian_bean_stew_3.jpg

Today, we’re sharing the traditional Slavonian bean stew recipe. The most important aspects of many Slavonian recipes are simplicity and quantity. Traditionally, the people in the east of Croatia would spend a lot of time working in their fields and farms, and their families were closely knit together. This meant that there wasn’t a lot of time for cooking and that meals needed to be efficient in feeding many people for many hours of hard work. This is why you’ll find that everything in Slavonia needs to contain lard and a side of bread, and must be cooked in a pot the size of a small barrel.

Beans have always been relatively easy to plant and grow and simple to store in large quantities. The most popular variety, still used in most recipes, has been the white bean. And in the winter, another ingredient that would be on hand is a variety of cured meat, be it sausage, bacon, pork knuckles, or ribs. Combine the two and you get a full pot of nutritious deliciousness. Ok, here’s how to do it exactly. A recipe o feed six people twice, or twelve people once — the only proper way to cook a true Slavonian bean stew. vinkovo3.jpgSteve Tsentserensky


– 600g of dry beans

– 2 medium onions

– 2 tablespoons of lard (or 4 tablespoons of oil)

– 4-5 tablespoons of flour

– 5 cloves of garlic

– 2 tablespoons of paprika

– cured meat of choice 


1 Soak your beans overnight. There might be debris floating – get rid of that, and rinse your beans throrougly. 

2 Boil the beans – more debri might rise to the top and the water might turn darker – get rid of that as well, and rinse once again.

3 Finely chop your onions, add them to the beans, add the cured meat, fill the pot with water and cook on low heat until the meat and beans both turn soft (about 2 hours). Tip: if the beans start cracking, they’re done.

* Salt to taste – this will depend on which and how much cured meat you use (usually salty). 

4 Brown your flour – heat up the lard and add about 4 tablespoons of flour, stirring continuously until it turns golden. Add the finely chopped garlic and paprika. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes and add water.

5 Add the browned flour mixture to the beans and meat. Stir until the stew has turned golden brown and thickened.

6 Serve with some fresh bread and onions, enjoy until you can’t breathe.

Bonus: this is one of those meals that is necessarily made to last at least two days. If for whatever reason you need it to feed even more people on the next day, or just want to make it taste different, you can repeat steps 4 and 5 to make it thicker and have your special next day Slavonian bean stew.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.




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