What is soparnik? How is this Croatian culinary treasure of Croatia prepared?

Soparnik, also known as chard piezeljanik or uljenjak, is a simple and delicious pie filled with vegetables. This traditional dish originates from Poljica, a small region near the hinterland of Omiš.

The word soparnik actually means dry (suhoparnik), according to the folk, and older meaning we would say unseasoned. Soparnik is protected with a geographical indication at the level of the European Union.

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Soparnik dates back to the time of the Republic of Poljica and Turkish expeditions to the Croatian coast and the Dalmatian hinterland. Poljica was not located in a suitable place when it comes to climate. Therefore, it suffered from extreme heat and drought, while the soils were too small to cultivate.

 

All these climatic conditions led people to poverty, so they only had access to simple raw materials. The women of Poljica then started preparing soparnik, a simple festive pie intended for poor people and the biggest celebrations.

 

Soparnik, Photo: Public domain

 

Soparnik is very easy to prepare. It just needs to be adapted for grilling on an open fireplace. The filling for this pie is made out of chard and red onion (kapula), spread between two sheets of thinly rolled dough.

Traditionally, it is baked in a stone oven, and covered with coal. When it is baked and still hot, it is coated with olive oil and garlic.

 

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This dish is traditionally cut into diamonds. Legend has it that such a way of cutting was introduced at the time of the Turks when food theft was frequent, and in this form, it was the easiest to hide soparnik in the palm of your hand. 🙂

 

 

There are many variations of soparnik, especially in the Adria region. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, soparnik is called zeljanica and is prepared with chard or spinach.

Namely, the Republic of Poljica bordered the Ottoman Empire and was part of it for more than a hundred years, so the exchange of mutual influences is quite logical.

 

 

 

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Soparnik is more than a dish; it is a symbol of Croatian culture and history. Its simplicity and deliciousness make it a favorite among locals and tourists.

 

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The publication was created as a result of the joint work of the editorial staff.

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