On our travels in Croatia this year we came across a hidden gem of a restaurant, Donja Banda. They served up an amazing Croatian Lamb Peka, which needed 3 hours notice prior to ordering!
Being food lovers we are always keen to try new dishes.
What is a Peka?
Vegetables and Potatoes are mixed in with your choice of Lamb, Octopus, Chicken, Veal or Fish inside a large pot with olive oil. The pot is then placed in an open outdoor fireplace, covered over with a metal domed lid.
The dome is then covered with hot coals and embers and cooked under them for around 1 1/2 hours before the wine is added and cooked for 30 minutes more.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of an outdoor open fireplace. Although I know Luke would love one, our garden is just not big enough to justify it! Besides we don’t get good enough weather to enjoy much Al Fresco cooking!
We are have tried our best to recreate the Peka using the oven, it’s not quite the same, nevertheless it still utterly delicious! Check out our step by step pictures below and scroll to the bottom for a printable recipe card.
It is best to use waxy potatoes in this dish, they keep together during long cooking times we used Charlotte Potatoes. Other Waxy varieties are Jersey Royals, Viktoria or Anya.
What Vegetables do you use in a Croatian Peka?
We used the following vegetables, chopped fairly chunky, compared to the traditional Croatian Peka this was more veg than required.
But I was using up what I had in the fridge.
- carrot large
- pepper green
- large red onions
In true Mediterranean fashion, a lot of Olive Oil is used in this dish, I am not sure what special extras the Croatians added to their Peka?
I flavoured ours with Sundried Tomato Puree, Garlic Puree and Black Pepper. Mixed in with the Olive oil.
Add Lamb on top of vegetables and pour the Olive Oil and puree mixture over the top. Followed by white wine, pour yourself a glass too, there is going to be a long wait for dinner!
Next, choose your favourite herbs, we used a mixture of Sage, Thyme and Rosemary.
You can see in the picture we scattered the herbs all over, which looks pretty…… but in hindsight, we recommend to bunch them together!
The Rosemary and Thyme stalks were time-consuming to remove at the end having them scattered everywhere!!
Add lid to the casserole dish and slow cook in the oven for 1hr 30.
Remove lid add extra oil, stir it all up and put back in the oven without the lid for last 15 minutes.
Serve up your Croatian Lamb Peka straight from the dish, with a loaf of crusty bread.
This is perfect for soaking up the flavoursome olive oil. In the time it’s cooking you can bake your own, see our Homemade White Cob loaf recipe.
The lamb is cooked perfectly so soft and tender, melts in your mouth!
We are so happy with our Croatian creation! Hope you love it too, we are going to try it out again with fish next time!
Croatian Lamb Peka
- 850 gram lamb shoulder shoulder deboned ( cut into nice size chunks) or buy already chopped
- 600 grams charlotte potatoes (or any waxy potatoes)
- 1 courgette chopped chunky
- 1 carrot large chopped
- 1 pepper green chopped chunky
- 1 aubergine chopped chunky
- 2 onions chopped chunky
- 1 tbsp Gia Garlic Puree
- 1 tbsp Gia Sundried Tomato Puree or tomato puree
- 100 ml olive oil save 20 ml for last step
- 250 ml white wine
- black pepper seasoning
- thyme, rosemary and sage you can choose any
- Preheat oven to 200°C
- Cut your lamb shoulder into large chunks and place to one side.
- Add Potatoes and Vegetables into casserole dish.
- Place chunks of lamb on top of veg.
- Mix 80ml of olive oil in a bowl with garlic puree, sundried tomato puree and black pepper.
- Pour oil mixture over the veg and lamb, followed by the white wine. Lastly, add the rosemary, thyme and sage, trying to keep the herbs all together so the stalks can be easily removed at the end once the Peka is cooked
- Place lid on the casserole dish and cook for 1hr 30 minute
- Take the lid off, pour the rest of the oil on top of the lamb and veg, cook for a further 15-30 mins.
- Serve with slices of crusty bread Enjoy!!