Monday, March 15, 2021

Tavče Gravče

Unglazed earthenware pot
traditional to Macedonia
Tavče Gravče is considered the national dish of North Macedonia and is the most popular dish eaten by the Macedonian diaspora. However, this dish is also popular in neighboring countries such as Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, and other nations which once made up the country of Yugoslavia.

First, let's pronounce this dish:

Tavče Gravče

Tahv-chay Grahv-chay

The name translates as beans on a tava (a flat or concave disc-shaped frying pan similar to a wok), although the dish I'm talking about today is traditionally slow-cooked in an unglazed earthenware pot, and usually over an open fire.

I was inspired to make Tavče Gravče after watching the video for Epic Beans & Sausage Tavče style by AlmazanKitchen. I love watching his videos. He takes viewers out of the traditional kitchen and into nature where he often uses produce he's grown himself and water from his fresh running stream. Or he brings viewers into his covered cooking area with a built-in fire space for cooking, which is where he made his version of this dish.

Like most national dishes, every family has their own take on Tavče GravčeI've looked at several recipes and watched a lot of videos on YouTube, and came away with the basic ingredients that all dishes have: beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and paprika. Simple. Each cook adds their own favorite ingredients and method of cooking.

For my dish, I followed Almazan's recipe and tweaked it a little based on some of the other ingredients in my research.

Before starting, let me just say that the dish is normally eaten as is...the beans and sausage. I changed it up a bit and cooked some rice to go with it. I know. I doubled up on the carb...beans and rice! But, I only did that because I didn't have any crusty bread to sop up the sauce. For you, eat it as-is, or with rice, or with crusty bread, or whatever takes your fancy.

Okay, so here's my recipe for:

TAVČE GRAVČE KEME STYLE (or Kiki Style if you're talking to Beck):

>> Tools: Sharp knife, wood or non-scratch spatula or spoon, deep-sided skillet, ovenproof baking dish with lid (or foil to cover).

>> Prep time: About 45 minutes

>> Serves: This dish, as-is, serves two people. Double or triple as needed.

>> Preheat: Oven to 250F/125C, Skillet to medium heat.


2 large bell peppers - yellow and orange/red for contrasting color

2 medium shallots

1 small red finger chili (optional)

4 or 5 fresh garlic cloves

Cooking oil, as needed


De-seed bell peppers and cut into thin rings.

De-skin shallots and cut into long, thin slices.

De-seed chili and cut into thin, diagonal slices.

De-skin garlic and mash with the knife blade, rough chop.

Add cooking oil to pan and add everything in at once, mix well.

Continue mixing for just a couple minutes. You're not cooking these ingredients, just getting them started.

Go to part two:


1 can of white beans of choice - Navy/Haricot are smaller than Canallini but taste the same 

1 can of chopped tomatoes (unseasoned) 

2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2-3 bay leaves

3-4 tsp of smoked paprika (does not need to be level)

1 Tbsp real butter (does not need to be level)

Salt and pepper - half tsp salt and 1 tsp fresh ground pepper or to taste


To your pan of veg, add paprika, rosemary, bay leaves, mix well.

Add butter, salt and pepper, mix well. 

Add beans (drained and rinsed), mix well.

Pour everything into baking dish and set aside.

Got to part three:


4 medium homemade or artisan style sausages (can be omitted for vegetarians)

a big handful of cherry tomatoes - 6-10 whole or cut in half


Wipe out the skillet and reheat with a little oil.

Add the sausages and brown all over.

While the sausages are browning, fold the cherry tomatoes into the sauce.

When evenly browned, add sausages to the top of the sauce, partially submerge. 


Cover your baking dish (lid or foil) and put into the preheated oven. Slow cook for 4-5 hours.

Be sure to check every couple hours to ensure the sauce is not evaporating. If so, mix in a little water and recover.

About half an hour before you're ready to serve your meal, prepare your accompaniments, such as steamed rice or crusty bread.

Also at this time, remove the cover to give the sausages a little more color if needed.

Before serving, remove the rosemary stems (leaves will have fallen into the sauce) and the bay leaves.

*Taste - If the flavor is too sharp or hot from the chili, add a squirt of ketchup. It will knock the edges off the sharpness.

Serves two or one piggy!

Macedonian - Dobro jadenje!

Serbian - Dobro jelo!

English - Good eating!

If you make this dish, or any others on my site, please message me through the mailer on the sidebar and let me know how it went and if you liked it or not. And let me know if it's missing an ingredient you'd like to see. Your email is not harvested and I'll be the only one seeing your message.