Mlinci are a type of Central European cracker- pasta. To make them, you first have to roll out a simple dough and bake it to create the cracker. Then you toss broken up pieces of the crackers into boiling water to create a softened pasta. The result is not your typical bowl of spaghetti, but is still delicious, especially drenched in turkey drippings. Mlinci are a common side to roasted poultry. In Slovenia, a goose is cooked up to go along with the mlinci for Saint Martin’s day. In Croatia, turkey is the standard meat, and it is part of the folk cuisine of Croatia.
¾ tsp salt
½ to 2/3 cup warm water
Mix the salt and flour together. Then slowly add in enough water to make a soft dough. Roll out the dough as thin as you can and cut it into 1” wide strips. Bake at 350 degrees until the strips are crisp and dried out, about 25 minutes. Cool completely. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Break the strips into smaller pieces, and soak them in the water for about 8 minutes until they are softened. Toss the pasta in the pan drippings to serve.
You can't have mlinci without purica, the Croatian word for turkey. Thankfully, I just happened to have a rather large turkey sitting in my freezer. (My holiday bonus at work is a huge frozen turkey. I just got around to actually cooking it.) I suggest serving this for a crowd, but you can be selfish like me and keep it all to yourself. Don't be surprised if you end up with a fridge full of turkey afterwards. What would be really cool is throwing a Croatian themed Thanksgiving next year. Add in some Central European veggies like cabbage and potatoes, and you have yourself a feast!
Purica1- 10 to 15 pound turkey, thawed
Rub salt all over the outside and inside cavities of your turkey Refrigerate for 4 hours. Take the bird out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and put the turkey in a roasting pan. Oil the turkey well. Make a little tent out of tin foil to prevent too much browning. Bake the turkey for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 and bake another 2 to 3 hours, or until the thigh meat registers to 165 degrees. Take the turkey out of the oven a couple of times while it is baking to baste in the juices that collect in the bottom of the pan. Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes before carving.
Croatia was a yummy encounter. I am glad because I will be encountering it for many nights to come as my fridge is now packed with leftover turkey. I thought that tossing the pasta in the turkey drippings was a marvelously delicious idea that we North Americans should employ. Do not be surprised if pasta is the side dish of choice for my next family Thanksgiving.