Tag Archives: dumplings

On top of the mountain in the Czech Republic

20 Nov

img_1688

Last weekend marked a friend reunion with Radek and Martin in Prague. Our friendship is a special one, we met 17 years ago during a summer vacation on the island of Korcula in Croatia and since then remained in touch. Every now and then (this time 10 years!) the three of us meet somewhere in Europe. What awaited us was a hiking trip to a historic place: the mountain Rip, just about 1 hour outside of Prague. When I saw it I had a smile on my face. Rather than a mountain it is a cute hill with a small church and bistro on the top.

With the winter having arrived and freezing temperatures around 0 degrees, we decided to hide inside a cafe after our 2 hour hike. Excellent idea. It has been a while since I enjoyed typical Czech cakes and a real hot chocolate (melted chocolate with whipped cream). The cafe was a local kavarna (= Czech word for cafe) in the middle of the old town center of Melnik. 

http://www.nakopci.com/

From there we headed back to Prague and found ourselves on top of another hill at a restaurant called Na kopci (= on top of the hill). The restaurant is nestled in the middle of a residential area and a little bit hidden. The menu is top though. With St.Martin`s day on Friday the menu still offered traditional goose dishes like goose soup with mini dumplings, goose rillette and roast goose with a variety of home-made dumplings and pickled red cabbage. The food was of excellent quality and came in very nice portions so that we got to taste several courses. I especially enjoyed my deer roulade that was stuffed with a fig-date-noisette paste and came on a bed of spinach with fried gnocchi. 

If you decide to go to that place, don`t forget to book. The place was so busy that we had to go at 4pm.

When we left Prague, I realized that I am leaving with a very happy belly. What you do not see on the pictures is what we got to eat at home at my dad`s place: Home-made halusky (= Czech gnocchi) with blue cheese and sauerkraut, red beet borscht soup and an assortment of cheeses that we enjoyed with red wine. For breakfast we had jablkovy zavin, the Czech apple pie or Apfelstrudel as it is called in Germany speaking countries and kolace (= traditional Czech cakes) with poppyseed, cream cheese and plum filling.

Oh boy, I am already looking forward to Christmas and our Czech tradition of fried karp with home-made potato salad. Pictures coming, promised!

Szegediner Goulash

2 Sep

Today I am proudly presenting you one of the best dishes in the world which I have been keeping as a draft for over a year until i found time and courage to give the good old Czech dumplings a premiere.

I should tell you a little bit about my personal experience with Czech dumplings: my parents are Czech and so it happened that whenever I visited Prague with my family those delicious dumplings (not to be confused with toast bread even though they look like it) had to be on my plate, preferably home-made. You may find them at any supermarket, yet it is a question of every Czech mom’s and grandma’s honor to make them from scratch. I perceived this tradition as a kind of dumpling religion and it took me almost 30 years until I gave it my first try. Too scared was I to fail. Looking back I assure you there is no need to wait so long. It’s as easy as kneading a pizza dough ;)

Now to the goulash: There exist dozens of fantastic goulash recipes. What makes the Szegediner goulash special is its mild and moist taste that comes from sweet paprika powder, a good amount of sauerkraut and sour cream.

If I could send you a tiny note of the smell and taste, you would immediately head out to the supermarket and start cooking, that’s how good it is!

Szegediner Gulasch

Dumplings in the making

Dumplings

Goulash meat:

Ingredients:

1 kg goulash meat (should be one piece of tender meat, e.g. roast meat)

1 slice lard (ca. 30g/1 ounce)

2 large white onions (at least 300g/a little over 1/2 pound)

3 garlic cloves, pressed

500g (1 lbs) sauerkraut

1 cup veggie broth

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon caraway

sweet paprika powder

spicy paprika powder

salt

pepper

1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

Preparation:

1) Dice the onions, peel the garlic and cut the meat into mouth big pieces.

2) Put the piece of lard in a hot pot and sear the onions until they are glassy. Put aside.

3) Leave the lard in the pot and saute the meat at the highest heat available.

4) Cover with broth, then add the tomato paste, garlic and spices. Mix everything together and let simmer at medium to low heat for about 25-30 min.

5) Add the sauerkraut and let simmer for another 10-15 min. If the goulash comes out too dry, add a little more water.

6) Before serving stir in 3-4 generous spoons of creme fraiche or sour cream. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.

7) Serve with oven warm baguette, bread or traditional bread dumplings.

Dumplings

Ingredients:

500g (1 lbs) flour

1 old roll

1 egg

250 ml milk (water for vegans)

1 pack baking soda

Pinch of salt

Preparation:

1) In a large bowl, combine the flour with the baking soda and a pinch of salt. Brake the roll into crumbles and add.

2) Add the egg and start stirring it in.

3) Then slowly add the milk (or water) and with your hands knead everything into a soft dough.

4) Form 2-3 rolls with your hands, wrap in plastic foil over and leave them at the fridge for 30 min.

5) Bring water to a boil, add salt and let the dumplings cook for 20 min. Every once in a while turn them around.

6) Now comes the tricky part: you don’t want to slice the dumplings with a knife. Instead, use a sewing thread. Wrap the thread around the dumpling always about one finger tip wide, cross the ends at the top and slice them down. This way you get perfect dumpling slices that will not fall apart and deform their shape.

7) for serving, arrange 2-3 dumpling slices on a plate and place a scoop of goulash meat next to it. Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: