Istrian žgvacet (Istrian chicken or rooster „goulash”)

Istrian Žgvacet is neither a goulash nor a stew because the preparation is different, and the main ingredient is chicken or rooster.

It’s obligatory to cut the meat into pieces, fry it in olive oil, and only after that add onions with salt, followed by seasoning and combining it with garlic, tomato paste, wine, and water. Istrian Žgvacet is cooked on low heat until the meat is completely soft. It is served with polenta (grits) or homemade fuži (autochtone rolled pasta). 

A traditionally prepared Istarski žgvacet can only be cooked with chicken or rooster, so let’s figure out the unique preparation. 

Ingredients for Istrian Žgvacet:

  • chicken or rooster
  • onion
  • tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • wine
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • optional rosemary, basil, parsley


What do we do first? Cut the meat into small pieces, chop the vegetables, and prepare the spices. 

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pot and add the meat first. Only when the meat gets browned add the onions and mix all together. The onion will release its water and continue to stew.

Istrian žgvacet

After a while, add wine, salt, and pepper, cover, and continue to simmer on low heat. When the onion becomes glassy, add the sliced tomato or tomato paste and garlic and mix once more.
If necessary, pour more wine, water, or chicken stock. Towards the end, add parsley or spices of your choosing and let the sauce thicken. It goes perfectly with homemade fuži.

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