Friday, January 18, 2013

On the Menu: Czech Food

Dobrou chut!!

It's even on the ketchup!
That's the Czech version of "bon appetit" or "enjoy your meal" and I hope you enjoy the recipes I have for you today! My husband was all gung-ho to try some Czech Republic food when I told him how most of the dishes are either meat and sauce over dumplings/potatoes or sweet and fruity.  He especially thought it was great that the country is the #1 consumer of beer in the world.  Meat, potatoes, donuts and beer (!!) makes this my dear husband's dreamland.  I think he's talking to a travel agent tomorrow :)  Actually, the food did sound pretty good.  Lunch is the main meal in the Czech Republic and it typically will include a soup, the main dish of pork or beef served with a sauce and side of dumplings or potatoes, a salad that has a sweet dressing or a dessert.  As I mentioned earlier, the Czechs love beer and the also have hearty snacks to go with the beer, like utopenci a.k.a "drowned men", which is a pickled sausage, or syr smazeny, fried cheese (yum.) I found some good blogs that have tons of delicious sounding recipes they are and , I am positive there are many more to explore but these two looked good!  With all the choices of recipes I had to chose from I picked 2 that sounded like something my kids would eat.  I don't always pick the right ones as you can tell from previous posts and I suppose I could just only pick cookies and cakes and be a winner but I TRY to put healthy food in them too.  So I chose a dilled pot roast that I could cook in the slow cooker and some dumplings because who doesn't like dumplings!!!

Koprova (Dilled Pot Roast)

For the recipe you will need:
  • 3lb chuck roast (or any roast?)
  • 1 T fresh dill - chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill - chopped
1  Coat both sides of roast with salt and pepper and dill.
2. Put in slow cooker with the water and vinegar and cook on low for 8 - 10 hrs. Mine was actually done in 7 !
3. Remove the meat and keep warm while you make the sauce. 
4.  Turn cooker to HI and add flour (mixed with a little water to make paste). Cook 10 minutes.
5.  Add sour cream and dill and serve with meat and dumplings.

Knedliky (Czech yeast dumplings)

For the recipe you will need:
  • 4 cups flour sifted (or not, I never sift)
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk - warmed to about 105°
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
1. Mix yeast with 1/4 cup of the milk and the sugar in a sm. bowl.
2.  Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
3. When yeast has dissolved and bubbled up (10 mins.) add to flour mixture.
4. Add rest of milk and eggs and combine to make dough.
5.  Knead dough into ball and place in bowl, cover with a towel and let rest for 1 hr.  It should double.  Mine did not really double and I'm not sure why!  I think my milk was not really warm enough?  Or I kneaded it too much? Or the yeast was old?? Who knows?
6. Divide the dough into 3 loaves and set them on a platter to rest (covered) for 30 minutes.
7.  Boil some salted water in a large pot and when boiling put the big ol' dumplings in the water. 
8. Cook (covered) for 7 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 7 minutes.
9. Remove the now HUGE dumplings and let them cool a minute or two and them cut and serve.  The traditional way to cut them is with string.  Put the middle of the string under the dumpling and cross your strings and pull to pinch off a piece of the dumpling without mushing it.  Personally, I found a sharp knife worked fine.

This meal was filling and pretty good!  I think my dumplings should have been fluffier and it was probably because they didn't rise properly.  The meat was really tasty. I was worried the dill would be overpowering but it was very nice.  I always have a problem getting a thick sauce from anything crockpotted - anybody else have this problem?  My dill/sour cream sauce was delicious but I think it should have been thicker.  Whatever!  My kids ate this!!!  YEAH!! They skipped the sauce but liked the rest so I am a happy Mommy with a happy Husband and two wonderful kids.  Life is good. 

P.S. The leftover dumplings are delicious the next morning with butter and jam!!