What Is Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans) and How to Prepare It?

March 13, 2019

We already talked about Serbian culture and how devoted they are to their traditions and beliefs. Orthodox fasting is one of those long-established customs that a high percentage of the Serbian population (those who are religious) honor to this day.

The tradition is passed on, generation to generation, and involves abstaining from eating certain food types, like meat, eggs, and dairy products, sometimes even for periods of 46 days. Basically, Serbians were going vegan hundreds of years before it was cool.

If you ever visited our  Serbian restaurant in Miami Beach and glanced over the menu, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of the items on it have meat as the main ingredient. This is not a coincidence as Serbia is mostly a meat-loving country, however, during fasts, Serbians refrain from eating any kind of meat, except for fish.

Luckily, the Balkan cookbook is full of delicious dishes to make up for the lack of pljeskavica and cevapi during those fasting periods. If you are visiting the Balkans somewhere around Christmas or Easter, you’ll probably have the opportunity to try out some of these specialties. A very popular dish that you should definitely seek out and grab a bite of is called prebranac. Doesn’t sound familiar? Here’s everything you need to know about this tasty meal and how to make it.

What Is Prebranac

During a long cold winter, one meal has a special place in our heart and in our stomach, and that is prebranac. This culinary delicacy consists of baked beans and a few other ingredients. The end result is a mouthwatering casserole that you just can’t get enough of.

Luckily, this is one of the cheapest meals out there, so make extra servings and save them for later. Once you crave more of that yummy caramelized mix of beans and onions, simply pull it out of the fridge and throw it in the microwave. Prebranac tastes even better when it’s reheated.

It’s super easy to make and very forgiving when it comes to the recipe. You don’t have to follow it by the letter, just trust your gut. You can use any type of beans, but we got the best results with a traditional baked lima beans recipe.

The Tastiest Prebranac Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 1x pound of Lima beans
  • 5x medium onions sliced into thin crescents
  • 1x cup of sunflower oil
  • 1x tablespoon of sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2x garlic cloves
  • 4x bay leaves
  • 1-2 pinches of salt and pepper

Start off by placing the beans in a pot full of water and leave it overnight. Throw out the old water, drain the beans, and add fresh water again in a ratio of 1:3. Bring to a boil, and leave it to simmer until the beans start turning soft. Dump the water and drain the beans once more.

While you wait for your oven to heat up, saute the onions with oil until they turn translucent. Add the paprika together with the other ingredients and spices.

Place the boiled beans on the bottom of the casserole, add a layer of the onion mix, and gradually pour oil over it. Top it off with another layer of beans, and throw it in the oven at 375 F for about an hour to hour and a half. Voila, you’re done. Prebranac doesn’t necessarily taste bad when it’s hot, but in other to truly enjoy it, leave it to cool down first. For the best taste, serve at room temperature.

There you have it, a Serbian vegan dish that tastes like heaven. For more delicious recipes and interesting cultural facts, make sure to read our other articles. Our Rakija Lounge menu has several vegan-friendly dishes as well, so if that’s your thing, make sure to stop by.

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