This meal marked a special event for me: Country #50. That’s right, I have made at least one meal from 50 different countries. Beyond hitting a milestone number, it was also a thought provoking experience because of the subject itself: Kosovo, the nation.
Kosovo is a very young country that is not recognized by all nations. This includes Serbia, the nation Kosovo seceded from in 2008. Needless to say, the infancy of this territory is apparent in its cultural development. Much of their original art was destroyed during wars, or was unknown due to the socialist regime that hid it from the world. Furthermore, there are clear influences from neighboring countries.
The dish that was recognized as the national dish is called Flia, or Flija (pronounced either “flea” or “fle-ah,” depending on which part of the country you’re in), and it’s also associated with Albania. So why didn’t I make that dish? After some research, it was clear that what makes Flia special and delicious is the labor-intensive process of cooking it over an open fire. Multilayered with dough and a yogurt-cheese sauce, the dish is enormous and cooked layer by layer. It takes several hours to assemble and cook, and truthfully, I didn’t want to be unauthentic. I concluded this sounds like a great project to do while I am up north at the family cabin, with lots of time and outdoor space. (Family, who’s with me?) Check out the dish here.
Onward I searched for a new, exciting recipe, and I stumbled upon a Stuffed Pepper recipe. It’s very common in Kosovo to stuff a variety of vegetables, including peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. To be clear, most cultures have some stuffed pepper/vegetable recipe. The combination of meat and rice in a pepper shouldn’t be new to people, but it was to Spencer, who loved the dish. This dish included beef and sausage, alongside fresh parsley.
If you’ve never made Stuffed Peppers, it’s time. Really, really time. They’re fun, delicious, filling, simple, and you can easily add new and exciting flavor combinations. Cheers, to 50!
Spencer: “Stuffed pepper! I love these ingredients and the dish was fun! Koso-whoa!”
Teresa: “The filling was simple to make, great to eat. I am a fan of this dish, or any stuffed vegetable.”
- sausage (pork or chicken)
- cloves of garlic, crushed
- onion, chopped
- a handful of parsley, chopped
- vegetable oil
- tomato sauce
- The capital of Kosovo is Pristina
- The recognized languages of Kosovo include Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian, Turkish, Gorani, and Romani
- Before being a part of Serbia, Kosovo was once part of the following former nations:
- Ottoman Empire (1299-1918)
- Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918-1929)
- Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1945), and then
- Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1945-1992)
- The former Yugoslavia also included the countries Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, & Slovenia
- The Kosovo War (1998-1999) was spurred from long-term ethnic divisions between Kosovo’s Albanian and Serb populations, ending with NATO military intervention
- Cuisine is highly influenced by Albanian and Turkish cuisine