See more recipes in the award-winning cookbook, Cook Eat Slovenia, available here
Grenadirmarš is a simple, nearly forgotten dish fondly remembered by older generations. It is supposed to date back to the First World War, when soldiers in Kobarid fought on the Soča Front. An odd combination at first glance, but for soldiers with limited food options, it gave them strength to fight on.
It can be made with just about any pasta. My granny Nuša most often used tagliatelle, which works nicely with sautéed potatoes. It is a handy dish because the ingredients are almost always in the pantry. To keep the dish moist, add cracklings.
In the Primorska region, the recipe includes bleki with sliced and sautéed bacon, whereas in Zasavje it is associated with the food of miners.
This very filling calorie bomb is best served with a bowl of salad. But let’s forget about counting calories and just dig into this soul food.
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) potato
170 g (6 oz) pasta (tagliatelle)
2 medium-sized onion
5 tbsp sunflower oil or 2 tbsp pork lard
Salt and pepper
Wash the potatoes and cook, unpeeled, in salty water until soft. Drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool a little.
In a large pan or pot, sauté the thinly-sliced onions in oil or lard until golden. In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente in salty water.
Add the potatoes, peeled and thinly-sliced, to the onions, stir for the flavors to bind and for the potatoes to soak up the fat. Add the cooked pasta and sauté over a moderate flame for 10 minutes. Allow the bottom to caramelize, mix and repeat the process so the whole dish turns golden. It’s best when it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
You might know Špela Vodovc from the Cook Eat Slovenia cooking and hiking tours she’s been running for a number of years, or from the cookbook of the same name that came out last year. It’s a beautiful book, full colour, well written and well made, with an excellent selection of tried and trusted Slovenian recipes for all seasons and occasions.
The book itself has won three awards at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2020, for best translated, best self-published, and best food tourism cookbook for Slovenia, and in the top 3 in the world for those last two categories . I have a copy, and it really is a thing of beauty, with photography by Mateja Jordović Potočnik, cooking and food styling by Špela and her mother Branka Vodovc and Špela Vodovc, and design by Gregor Žakelj. You can pick up a copy at various stores in Ljubljana, or order one online here, but for the next few weeks, as we’re mostly stuck at home and not eating out, Špela has kindly offered to share some of her recipes with our readers.