My favorite food discovery from my trip to Serbia is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal! Learn how to make Prebranac – Serbian Baked Beans!
I was never a huge fan of baked beans, until I discovered these Serbian Baked Beans, called prebranac. It was love at first bite. When I was in Serbia in May we were treated to huge family style meals each night. Serbia has an incredibly culinary culture and traditional Serbian food is hearty and several vegetable side dishes were served at each meal. The prebranac was my favorite. The beans are cooked long and slow with onions, until the beans and the onions are almost caramelized.
I first tasted prebranac when we traveled to Eastern Serbia. We spent our morning tasting wine at a monastery, and then drove to Rajac Wine Cellars, a small village filled with wine cellars. We had a homemade rustic lunch at one of the wine cellars that has become a small inn. This is where I first discovered prebranac. From then on I was on a mission to find it again, luckily it made it to the table at several more meals.
I did encounter one major problem in my mission to bake prebranac. I couldn’t find dried butter beans at my grocery stores. I took a chance and used canned beans instead and luckily it worked out! I was worried that canned beans might break down too much, luckily they didn’t. Some of the beans break down while other remain whole. The onions break down almost completely but the caramelized onion taste is there. The texture of this side isn’t a boring mushy mess, it is very satisfying.
You will definitely want to make this a day or two in advance. One of the recipes that I found online specified preparing the beans a day early and letting them rest in the fridge for a day before serving. Prebranac takes a couple hours to prepare, and it tastes even better the next day. The process of preparing the beans is simple, it is just a process of low and slow cooking that takes time.
If you want to read more about Serbian Food, check out this blog post!
Serbian Baked Beans (Prebranac)
My favorite food discovery from my trip to Serbia is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal! Learn how to make Prebranac - Serbian Baked Beans!
- 3 White Onions
- 1 cup Sunflower Oil
- 3 cans of Butter Beans
- 1 tablespoon Paprika
- 3 cloves of Garlic minced
- 3 Bay Leaves
Chop the onions. Then place the onion and sunflower oil in a dutch oven and heat over a burner on medium low heat. It is best to start the onion off in the cold oil, this will give the onions a more mellow flavor. Bring the onions to a low and slow simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the onions have deepened to a yellow color but are not caramelized.
Drain and rise the beans. Add the beans, paprika, garlic, bay leaves, and a generous amount of salt and pepper to the pot with the onions. Then stir in 3 cups of water. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until most of the moisture has evaporated, the beans have deepened in color, and the top of the beans have caramelized.
Let the beans cool and then refrigerate. I reheated the beans in a casserole dish before serving.
Adapted from Food 52.