|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 29g||37%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||55%|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||11%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
The casing-less Balkan sausages known as or cevapi, cevaps, or cevapcici found their way into Eastern Europe via the Ottoman Empire, which in turn picked them up from Arabic traditions. Today, there are different versions of these fresh, unsmoked sausages throughout Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia.
Some cevapcici are made out of pork and lamb, others of pork, lamb, and beef—like our recipe—and yet others omit the pork entirely. But if anything is consistent in all preparations is the fact that the sausages are formed by hand and not stuffed into casings—and the meat mixture has generous amounts of garlic. Although the mixture is quickly made, it's key to let it cool off in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, or ideally overnight, so the flavors combine and the mixture is easier to form into sausages. An extra hour of chilling is needed after the sausages are formed.
Traditionally, cevapcici was skewered and grilled over an open fire. Nowadays, most cooks grill, broil, or pan-fry the sausages. They make a great dish when served over fries or potato wedges, but generally, cevapcici is served on lepinje bread.
1 pound ground beef chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 clove clove garlic (or more to taste, finely chopped)
1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
Garnish: finely sliced onions
Gather the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix together the beef, pork, lamb, garlic, chopped onions, and salt until thoroughly combined. Using disposable gloves to knead the mixture makes the process easier and also helps the ingredients combine thoroughly.
To taste for seasonings, make a small patty and fry. Taste and add more garlic, salt, or onions to the raw mixture according to your preferences. Refrigerate the meat mixture for at least one hour, but ideally overnight, before forming.
To make the sausages, roll the meat mixture into a long, 3/4-inch cylinder. Cut links at 4-inch intervals. If you'd prefer, you can use a sausage extruder without a casing attached.
Place the sausages on a plastic wrap-lined plate, cover with more plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an extra hour to firm.
Broil cevapcici on a charcoal grill or a heated oven broiler rack coated with cooking spray 4 to 6 inches from the flame for 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the middle. The sausages can also be pan-fried in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over high heat for a total of 8 minutes, turning frequently to brown on all sides. Serve with chopped raw onion.
Glass Bakeware Warning
Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.
Pre-Make and Freeze
These sausages can be frozen after they are formed by arranging them on a parchment-lined sheet pan spaced well apart. When fully frozen, transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag. To use, remove as many or as few from the freezer bag as you'd like. They can be thawed and cooked or cooked when frozen to good effect.
Classic Cevapcici Presentation
These sandwiches are common street food in Eastern Europe, served on bread with sides of sliced onions, ajvar pepper sauce, and sour cream for a rich and delicious meal. But there are other traditional and tasty ways of eating cevapcici:
- Make the sausages in smaller sizes to offer them as appetizers. Serve with bread and any tangy or fresh sauce, like a cucumber dip or a yogurt garlic sauce.
- Serve them with pogacha bread and kajmak cheese, a type of fermented cheese made of unpasteurized milk that has a rich and bold flavor. If you can't find kajmak cheese or don't have time to make it, use clotted cream or creme fraiche instead.
- Make a meal with cevapcici and Serbian potato salad.