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Kavarma – Bulgarian pork and vegetables stew

KavarmaIf I need to describe Kavarma in just one sentence, it will be: traditional comfort dish, that’s easy, healthy, flavorful and delicious. Kavarma is one of the most popular Bulgarian dishes, a must-try and a brilliant example of the traditional Bulgarian cuisine. It’s a combination of fresh and flavorful vegetables and pork meat, although you can make it with chicken or a mix of meats as well. Like most well-liked dished, the recipe for Kavarma has many variations, among which are the substitution of leeks with onions, with or without carrots and mushrooms, topped with egg or not, and so on.

It’s prepared like a stew, in a clay pot (could be substituted with cast iron casserole), and it is a typical slow cooked comfort dish. It’s made throughout the year, but it’s particularly popular during the colder months of the year.


Kavarma Serves: 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 3-4 hours


650 – 700g (1.5 lbs) pork cubed (leg or even better fillet)
1 small onion – diced
4 leek stems, cut into thick rings (around 1,5 cm)
4-5 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
2 medium sized carrots, sliced
1 sweet (green or red) pepper, diced
2 medium sized tomatoes, peeled & finely chopped*
½ cup white wine**
½ cup sunflower oil (or any other vegetable oil)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
1-2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

*When possible we always use fresh tomatoes, but it can be substituted with the same amount of canned tomatoes or 2 tbsp tomato puree, diluted in water.

**We avoid using cooking wine and prefer real, good quality wine instead.


Combine the spices (cumin, oregano, salt & pepper) and dry rub them into the meat. Heat half of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and brown pork cubes on high heat for 3-4 minutes, until brown on all sides. Add the wine, lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Take of the heat and set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in another medium size skillet and sauté the onions, mushrooms, pepper and carrots for around 5 minutes. Pour ½ cup hot water and cook for another 10 minutes over medium heat. When the vegetables are soft and the liquid is almost gone, add the chopped tomatoes and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Combine all the ingredients by transferring them to the clay pot, adding the leeks to the mixture. Stir well, cover the dish with its lid and place it in a pre-heated to 120°C /250°F oven for about 3 hours.

Serve hot, with some crusty homemade bread.

19 comments to Kavarma – Bulgarian pork and vegetables stew

  • Catherine

    I found your recipe for Pork kavarma. You do not let people copy the recipe. Why not? Isn’t the point of posting it, so that people can then make the dish?

    So I did a screen shot and printed that. But it seems to me your web page is at cross-purposes.


    • Hi,Catherine!
      Let’s say first we are very glad you liked our recipe and you found your way to prepare it! And yes, that is exactly why we post our recipes here.
      We did choose however to restrict direct coping, in attempt to protect our work. Of course, we do know lot’s of people like to print the recipes, so we wanted to facilitate this (you will see the icon of a printer just over the title of the recipe). You can also mail the particular page you’re interested in directly to your mail, or share the recipe with your friends.
      We hope you and your family liked the Kavarma.

      Kind regards

  • Bulgarian cuisine

    […] KAVARMA is similar to Gyuvetch but spicier, and is prepared and served usually in an earthenware bowl or pot, called “Gyuvetche”. […]

  • Pauline Gascoigne

    Thank you for this recipe..I live in Bulgaria and its great to have recipes of local dishes..it can also be cooked with chicken..Also depending on area its some times served with an egg on the top..Love your site

  • mamipanchita

    Hola! Llevo muchos años buscando una receta de albondigas bulgaras. Cuando era pequeña estuve alli un tiempo y las comí mucho y ese olor cuando las cocinaban no soy capaz de olvidarlo… pero no puedo hacerlas porque no se como se hacen. Podeis,por favor, darme una receta de albondigas al estilo bulgaro que pruebe? Gracias

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  • fifty two plates » Bulgaria

    […] You think I’d have had enough of pork stew in the middle of the Arizona summer, but you’d be wrong. In my search, I came across the recipe for Kavarma, a Bulgarian pork and vegetable stew. What I found, was a lot of countries in the region seem to share quite a few dishes, so finding something totally different was pretty tough. This was very close to what I did for Hungary, but didn’t care. I really like how this came out, the addition of vegetables changed the flavor and taste profile of the dish. It came out really well and I thoroughly enjoyed the dish. You can find the recipe here: http://sharemykitchen.com/recipes/traditional-bulgarian-recipes/traditional-bulgarian-main-courses/k… […]

  • Teresa Hudson

    I had this dish on holiday, and was told I must use tubritsa, ( that’s as near as I can get to the word) I bought some out there, can anyone tell me if its oregano or summer savoury. The lady at the hotel was adamant I got the right type and in this recipe it tastes perfect

    • P. Doshkov

      Summer savory is the closest thing to chubritsa.

  • Teresa Hudson


  • New bowls. | c h e w y l a n d

    […] wait to eat a bowl of tripe soup or a pork kavarma from one of […]

  • Lee Ann Saenger

    For Christmas my husband gifted me with a lovely handmade clay crock from Bulgaria. It was suggested to me to try a Bulgarian stew as the first dish made in the crock. I just completed the above steps, and the crock in now in the oven. Can’t wait to try it – thank you!

    • Lee Ann Saenger

      This stew is amazingly delicious! So glad I found your website! Thank you!

  • Trev Marshall

    We were a bit disappointed, though I had my doubts when I read the ingredients because good meat,veg,and stock plus a couple of bay leaves is basically a stew the world over. The only difference is flavouring which depends on what stock and which herbs you use and to be honest Cumin & Oregano leave the end result lacking the original Bulgarian Kavarma taste. This particular recipe would be tastier with a bouquet garni in my opinion. I recently had the real thing during our skiing hols in Bulgaria and it was excellent. Something’s missing!!

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  • rodney warde

    for terry marshall – have had the real kavarma in bulgaria, tried to replicate myself til i played around and found the missing ingredient at least for me was paprika. beautiful but maybe its just my palate. i would never have thought to use cumin

  • rodney warde

    sorry that was meant for everyone but was a reply to TREV marshall

  • Emilia Singletary

    May I suggest the use of what is referred to in the states as Turkish cumin, the other kinds sold in stores taste different to me.

  • Jamey in Orlando

    I worked in a Bulgarian restaurant in college and this is the closest recipe I have found to replicate what we made and served there. I double the amount of spices called for in this recipe for the dry rub to give the pork more flavor. I prefer to serve over rice as the rice absorbs a lot of the juices and is super delicious. Now if I could just find a good recipe for Bulgarian moussaka… most I have found are for Greek varieties.

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