Bosnian cevapcici with Asmir Begovic

The Balkan alternative to the Big Mac isn’t for every day, but it’s a meaty treat, says the Chelsea stopper

Why should you eat Bosnian cevapcici?

“If one of my English team-mates told me he was going on a trip to Bosnia, I would tell him to try Ćevapčići.

This is a great local meat dish, served in a pitta bread with different ingredients. My favourite extra filling is spinach.

More after the break

I ate pitta bread regularly as a boy, but Ćevapčići was more of a treat, because it is more of a fast food type dish.

Most Bosnian dishes are very much homemade and healthy, but
this is a treat.

I’d drink buttermilk yoghurt to accompany this dish. I love it, but it is not to everybody’s taste, obviously. Bosnia has great food all over the country – it is impossible to single out one place. Go there and try, you won’t regret it!”

Ingredients serves 4-6

• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 1 lb lean lamb
• 1 lb lean beef
• 1 egg white, beaten
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 2 tablespoons onions, finely chopped

How to make

• Melt the butter over a medium heat.
• Stir in the onions and fry until translucent.
• Add the garlic and fry, stirring to prevent burning. Once cooked, remove from heat to cool.
• Mix the ground lamb and beef. Add the onion and garlic mix, egg white and paprika. Mix well.
• Shape the meat into sausages, cover (with plastic wrap) and refrigerate for an hour and a half.
• Pan-fry the cevapcici in olive oil until browned.
• Serve in pitta breads with chopped onions and spinach as required.

An onion-rich diet provides plenty of health benefits as it is full of polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Make sure you don’t over-peel: lots of the nutrients are found close to the skin.

Lean lamb & beef
Both provide a source of complete protein, essential for growth and repair – important for tired muscles. Grass-fed Lamb is rich in iron, B vitamins and omega-3 fats; beef has zinc and B12.

Pitta bread
Rich in carbohydrate, pitta bread provides an easily-usable source of energy. Pick wholemeal pitta for extra fibre and B vitamins.

Spinach packs a really powerful antioxidant punch. This can help repair damage to the body after intensive exercise. Rich in fibre, which helps regulate the digestive system, and iron, essential for forming red blood cells and distributing oxygen.

Also see:
Swedish meatballs with Seb Larsson
Yassa Poulet with Demba Ba
Moules frites with Marouane Fellaini

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