Unlike some of Montenegro’s nearby countries such as Italy or Greece, the cuisine is not one that is famed for quality or diversity. Due to the small size and location of the country, the majority of the food it serves is imported from neighbouring countries. The coastal towns typically serve seafood dishes, however, much of this has been imported from the Falkland Islands. In the more touristy areas, you may be hard-pressed to find a dish that solely uses ingredients from Montenegro.
As you venture inland, seafood dishes become harder to find, and you’ll be greeted with heavier, meat-based dishes. One of the famed Montenegrin delicacies is a smoked ham called pršut, aged in the mountains and thinly sliced. This plays a part in many inland dishes, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Montenegro is a traditional country, and as such, many people who live inland look to traditional ways of producing food, including farming their own animals. A popular dish served inland is lamb cooked in milk and served with potatoes and other vegetables. This may seem like a slightly alien concept as British cuisine rarely calls for items to be cooked in milk; however, the results are undoubtedly worth it! Read on to find out how to produce this delightful Montenegrin recipe.
For this recipe, you will need:
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley plus a little extra for garnish1 teaspoon fennel seeds2 cloves garlic minced1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder cut into bite-size pieces2 rosemary sprigs3 cups milk6 small new gold potatoes peeled1 carrot sliced into bite-size pieces1 teaspoon Vegeta seasoningsalt and pepper to taste
To start, grab a pestle and mortar and add in the parsley, fennel and garlic and begin the grind. You’ll want to form a paste from these ingredients. Using a dutch oven, start to heat the olive oil and add in the paste, cooking for about one minute until fragrant. Increase the heat and add in the pieces of lamb, allowing them to cook until browned all over.
Once the lamb has cooked, reduce the heat and remove the lamb from the pot and lightly season with salt and pepper. Carefully add half a cup of the milk, while scraping away any leftover brown bits to deglaze the pot. Once deglazed, add the remainder of the milk along with the rosemary, lamb (and juices), Vegeta and vegetables. Side note: if Vegeta is unavailable, a simple substitute can be produced by mixing turmeric, garlic and salt along with dehydrated carrots. Bring the dish to simmer and cover, cooking for roughly one hour and 15 minutes.
Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to briefly remove the lamb from the dish and remove all rosemary sprigs. Boil the milk over high heat to reduce the remaining sauce by half. Add the lamb back in and simmer until everything is warm. Season the food with salt and pepper while adding a garnish of parsley. We’d suggest serving with warm bread for an authentic Montenegrin meal.
Hopefully, you enjoy this delightful dish as much as we do. Our blog has a range of other useful tips and recipes for you to look at, all inspired by the countries we visit. If you would like to try these dishes in person, check out our range of Montenegro experience holidays.