Baked džuveč is a perfect example of how just a few spoonfuls of ajvar can turn an ordinary dish into an outstanding treat for all the senses.
Džuveč is essentially rice with added ingredients, which makes it a great dish for all those times when your fridge only has small amounts of things or when you don’t have a lot of time for a warm homemade meal. Džuveč itself is similar to an Italian risotto, Spanish paella or American jambalaya, and its distinctive taste that makes it stand out is due to the seasonal local ingredients.
An essential ingredient in džuveč is vegetables, specifically those in season, with as much variety as possible. This recipelists the vegetables we used to make our own džuveč, but you can use a combination you like best – from potatoes, green beans, peas and cauliflower to the obligatory onion, tomato and red pepper, which in this cuisine are indispensable, for which reason these almost always end up in džuveč.
In order to boost the wonderful flavour of red pepper, we cooked the džuveč with ajvar as the main seasoning, and in so doing transformed this humble dish from our childhood into a treat that you can’tresist and that we warmly recommend.
Rinse and dice the vegetables.
Rinse the rice under running water and leave to drain.
Sautee the onion in a few tablespoons of oil in a wide pan until it glazes, then add a pinch of salt, a little pepper and the crushed paprika to taste. Then add the red pepper, tomato and rice and gradually add approximately 500 ml of water or stock and cook on a moderate heat for 20 minutes. The rice should not be completely cooked, and any excessliquid will evaporate in the oven.
Take off the heat and mix into the rice the ajvar and remaining chopped vegetables.
Place everything in an oven-safe dish, place scored sausages around the top and bake in the oven at 200°C for approximately 20 minutes.
Top with chopped parsley and serve.