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Tavce Gravce (baked beans)

Marija Kostovska from Serbia

20 minutes
Cooks in
150 minutes
Country of origin

This recipe is connected with a childhood memory. It is a memory of love and feeling safe, and as I got older I understood that sometimes behind the creativeness of meals is essentially the scarcity of ingredients and the urge to feed your family. This is a traditional recipe from Macedonia and it is actually a very modest dish with small number of ingredients, but on the other hand a very nutritious. It was often prepared to me by my grandmother. As she had survived two world wars, and great famines she was very innovative with food preparations. In other words, she could have made something out from nothing.

In this recipe the balance between the water and the beans it is very important, as the beans have to be boiled before they are baked in the oven. If the beans stay to long in the oven, they can become dry. Whenever preparing this recipe, my grandmother always had in mind to put more beans than water. Before sautéing the mixture, my grandmother used to take out the additional beans, mash them, put a small amount of oil and crushed pepper and serve that to me. I loved the taste of the beans, the warmth and the tanginess of the mash, but I think what I loved the most it was the ritual of the preparation.

This recipe is my safe place and I usually prepare it when I want to serve a great dish to people that I love.


  • 300 grams beans (haricot and pinto beans)
  • 1 tbs sunflower oil
  • 1,5 medium onion
  • 5 dry peppers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper


  • Mix the beans and wash them thoroughly;
  • Put the beans in a saucepan and add 4 cups of water;
  • Put the saucepan on the stove and cook on high heat;
  • Bring the beans to boil. Change the first and the second water of the beans;
  • In the third water add to the beans one medium onion and 3 dry hot peppers and 1 tsp salt;
  • Bring the beans to boil. Reduce heat to low, place lid and cook for 2 hours;
  • Take out the onion and the peppers and part of the beans and squash them;
  • Heat 1 tsb sunflower oil on a medium heat on a pan and add the squashed onion, peppers and beans. Add 1 tsp red pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes;
  • Add the sautéd mixture to the saucepan with the beans. Bring to boil for 5 minutes;
  • Put the stew of beans to a clay pan add 2 dry peppers (cut on half) and half an onion;
  • Heat the oven to 250 degrees and put the clay pot inside;
  • The beans should bake for another 30 – 40 minutes (till the remaining liquid evaporates).


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