Tastes of Childhood - Simple yet Majestic - Istrian Maneštra
One of the top priorities that almost every traveler has is enjoying local cuisine. In my opinion, Istrian food and drinks are quite appealing.
One of the top priorities that almost every traveler has is enjoying local cuisine. In my opinion, Istrian food and drinks are quite appealing. While simple, they’re still tasty and healthy. Here is a recipe (one of many) for Istrian minestrone, or as it's called locally - maneštra.
For the basic Istrian maneštra you will need a quarter of kg beans, around half kg potatoes, dry pancetta, ham bone, a couple of fresh or canned tomatoes, some celery and parsley, laurel leaf, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.
Boil cleaned and washed beans, drain the water and rinse the remaining beans. Put it in fresh water together with a ham bone, laurel, finely chopped onions and pepper and start with the cooking. The addition of maneštra is pesto – pešt – that’s added to maneštra half way through the procedure. It’s made like this: finely chop the pancetta, garlic and parsley and mix it all together compactly. Old Istrians didn’t have meat on their plates every day and this was sometimes the only šuštanca – substance or meat part of the food. Cook all of the ingredients until the beans are softened and meat is easily removed from the bone. Take out the bone, slice the meat and return it into the pot. Add potato cut into cubes, tomatoes and salt if necessary. When the potatoes and beans are fully cooked, serve as main dish.
There are several variations to this meal depending on the season or your own preferences. You can improve the taste of maneštra by adding some olive oil or young corn the same time you’re adding the potatoes or maybe elevate it with seasonal herbs. While you’re eating, close your eyes for a moment and let your senses take you to a trip of Istrian past. Dobar tek!