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The Little Balkan Cookbook: Slow-cooked Slavonian Beef

A gorgeous Balkan beef dish or is it a Jewish speciality from Jerusalem?
A pinch of history My Balkan mum swears she invented this recipe, and after failing to find any beef dish, even in the Balkans, with the same delicious flavour, I was starting to believe her, until I visited a restaurant in Jerusalem. There I tried a dish called ‘beef superior’. Its liquor was identical to my mother’s ‘govedina’. How could this be? My mum came from Slavonia and the ‘beef superior’ appears to be a speciality of Jewish cuisine. So here’s a theory: These days Slavonia comes under the jurisdiction of Croatia and borders Hungary and Serbia, but it has changed hands more times than half a bottle of cheap vodka in a park full of tramps. At one time—before the last couple of wars—Slavonia had a healthy mix of Serbs, Croatians, Hungarians, Jews, Germans and Roma, and I like to think that there was a lot of talk over garden fences about cooking techniques and ingredients. My mum’s dish probably has its roots in the cooking traditions of the Balkan Jewish...