Ceshket, or as some call it Ceshkek (in some areas it’s called I ceshke and keshke or ceshket) is maybe most authentic meal from Herzegovina (part of Bosnia and Herzegovina), and even if it has most simple composition, it represent unavoidable meal for holidays, and it’s served as traditional Christmas Herzegovina breakfast.
Christmas Herzegovina breakfast
This simple meal for preparation needs only meat and wheat (barley or gers, in modern times wheat). It is considered that with the arrival of Turkish on Balkan, they brought this meal too, among others, but in todays oriental kitchen there are many variations of this meal that are basically the same, but very different in tastes. In our place, herzegovinas Christmas breakfast is often made of chicken meat and barley, that are cooked on that that way that meat is completely cooked and gets homogenized with wheat.
Meat can be first cooked separately (although before it was cooked together whit wheat), and when it’s cooked enough, we separate bones from the meat and in the resulting soup, all together with separated meat, barley is cooked. Barley was first mashed in a mortar to separate the grains from inedible parts.
Since long time, this meal is prepared during winter (Christmas) and was ideal for postponed usage since it’s very tasty after it’s heated couple of days after. Today, fridges and freezers are “culprits” of the possibility to eat ceshket any time of the year, but to prepare it during Christmas holidays. In some area meat and wheat are cooked with constant steering, and somewhere they put lamb oil or pork bacon on the bottom of the dish so that the herzegovinas Christmas meal doesn’t burn when it’s not steered. In both ways, process of cooking lasts up to 12 hours (depending on quantity) on light fire, because meat needs to get fully homogenized with the wheal.
Never mind the way it’s made, this Christmas breakfast will carry a scent of long, forgotten times, as well as part of herzegovinas tradition.