Yesterday, March 3rd, was Bulgaria’s National Holiday. In honor of Bulgaria’s independence, I decided to make what I believe is the most Bulgarian dish – Kavarma. Don’t get surprised when you read below and you see nothing unusual or too exotic about it. As I have mentioned before, Bulgarian cuisine is very simple. We use just a few fresh and flavorful ingredients and spices and vegetables are always present.
Even if you are not Bulgarian, have not been to Bulgaria, have never heard of Bulgaria, you HAVE to try this recipe. In my opinion, this is one of Bulgaria’s greatest contributions to world cuisine for a few simple reasons: it is easy, quick, healthy, flavorful and delicious.
Kavarma is prepared like a stew but cooks until most liquid evaporates. It is made throughout the year, but I particularly enjoy it on a colder day. Traditionally Kavarma is made with pork and that is how I made it this time. But if you prefer it is equally tasty made with chicken instead.
- 4 Thick Boneless Pork Chops – cut in cubes
- 1 Small Onion – diced
- 4 Leeks – diced
- 8 oz (1 packet) Mushrooms – cut
- 2 Carrots – diced
- 1 Green pepper chopped (I prefer Cubanelle as they are thinner and crisper )
- 1 Small Can (oz.) Tomato Puree
- ½ Cup White Wine (I avoid using cooking wine. I prefer real wine instead.)
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Bay Leaf
- A pinch of crushed red pepper
- Parsley to sprinkle on top once meal is ready
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large skillet, brown pork cubes on medium-high heat. In a medium size cast iron pot (any pot will do it) saute the small onion and carrots. Add meat and bay leaf to the pot, stir. Then add mushrooms, leeks and pepper. Pour wine. Let simmer for about 10-15 min. Add cumin and oregano. When liquid is almost gone add tomato puree, sugar and crushed red pepper. Let simmer again, until liquid has evaporated.
The dish can be served straight or on white rice. I also like it with couscous, as it takes only 5 min to cook.
Kavarma is one of my work week favorites. What are some of your favorite work week meals?