With a history dating back to the Ottoman Empire, these case-less sausages are a mainstay in the Balkan countries. There are many versions of cevapi (also know as cevaps, or cevapcici) but the one thing they all have in common is garlic.
Our recipe includes paprika but you’ll find other versions that don’t include it. The meats vary as well, with pork often omitted. One thing not to omit, besides the garlic, is the baking soda since that keeps the mixture soft and the sausages easier to form.
Traditionally served on Lepinje Bread (similar to pita bread), they’re also served with Lutenitsa, a tomato and red pepper relish, or Ajvar, made with red pepper and eggplant. But you might like them just the way they are.
- 2 pounds ground meat – any combination of lamb pork or beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 T water
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper
- Thinly sliced onions for serving
- Combine the mixed meat with the garlic, water, baking soda and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
- Knead until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but up to 12 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat a barbecue or a grill. Or, get a lightly oiled pan ready. Shape the mixture into small kebabs of the ground meat about 3- 4 inches long.
- Grill, boil or pan fry each cevapi for about 8 minutes. If grilling or broiling, turn after 4 minutes. If pan frying, turn frequently to brown all sides.
- Serve hot with thinly sliced onions, on bread and/or with your choice of relish.
- Don’t rush the refrigeration as the meat needs time to become infused with the garlic.
- Use other spices in place of the paprika or try some finely chopped onions (about half a cup for 2 lbs of meat). This is one recipe you can really make your own.