Bosanski Lonac, Bosnia’s National Dish

Call it my resolution for 2015: I’ve decided to extend (complete?) my collection of national dishes this year. I’ve already covered Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, GeorgiaUzbekistan, Tajikistan, maybe a couple more, so I’ve got, what, a mere 20 countries left? Today is Bosnia’s turn, with Bosanski Lonac.

Bosanski Lonac simply means “Bosnian pot”, which makes me wonder if locals really call it that. After all, French fries are simply called fries in France, and Belgian waffles are just waffles in Belgium. Anyway, this is essentially a stew prepared by alternating layers of large pieces of meat and vegetables into a deep pot, and covering the whole thing with water.

Bosnian Cuisine - Bosanski Lonac

In Alija Lakišić’s Bosanski kuhar, a lengthy tome dedicated to the cuisine of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one can learn more about the origins of the dish. Bosnia has long been a mining area, and lonac was created in the Middle Ages by coal miners for practical reasons. The miners had to prepare their own meals, so while they were working they would leave a ceramic pot filled with a simple but hearty affair of meat chunks, potatoes, and a few vegetables, thrown in in layers, to cook slowly over a fire hearth, until lunch break. Pots were typically prepared for a group of people, and each pot was marked with the name of the group to avoid confusion. Later on, the dish spread beyond coal miners, and people started bringing their pots to bakeries, where they could be cooked slowly in the bread ovens once the baking was done.

Continue reading