Svíčková na smetaně
Svíčková, or svíčková na smetaně (beef sirloin in cream sauce), is a typical Czech dish and one of the most popular Czech meals. It is sirloin prepared with vegetables (carrots, parsley root, celeriac and onion), spiced with black pepper, allspice, bay leaf and thyme, and boiled with double cream. It is generally served with houskové knedlíky (bread dumplings).
For the svickova na smetana :
2 pounds beef tenderloin
1 slice of bacon, sliced into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium parsnips, chopped
1/2 small celeriac root, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup / 8 fluid ounces red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons butter or lard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
The juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
24 hours before cooking time: Lard and marinate the beef. Using a small sharp knife,
make small cuts in the tenderloin and insert one of the pieces of sliced‑up bacon into
each. Season well with salt and black pepper (fresh‑ground or not, as you prefer).
Put the meat into a glass or ceramic (not metal) pan large enough to hold the meat but
small enough to keep it covered by the marinade. Surround and cover it with the
chopped vegetables. Sprinkle on thyme, allspice and parsley. Season with salt and more
pepper: add bay leaves. Pour in the vinegar and two tablespoons of the oil. Add a little
more water or vinegar if you need to in order to cover the meat (remember that the
vegetables will let off a little liquid in the marinade). Cover the pan and refrigerate. Turn
the meat in the marinade occasionally.
The next day: Preheat the oven to 175C / 350F. Remove the tenderloin from the
marinade: pat it dry with paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil very hot
in a drying pan big enough to take the tenderloin. Sear the meat all over: then remove to
a roasting pan.
Pour a little water into the frying pan ‑‑ half a cup or so ‑‑ and boil rapidly, scraping the
pan to get the remains of the searing into solution. Then pour these juices over the
roast. Surround it with all the vegetables and pour over the marinating liquid. Place the
butter or lard on top of the meat. Then put the whole business in the oven and roast,
basting occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.
When the meat is done, take it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to a
very low setting (under 50C / 100F). Remove the roast from the pan: pour all remaining
liquid and the vegetables into a pan. Put the meat back in the pan and return to the
oven. Meanwhile, puree the liquid and vegetables in a blender or food processor, or push
them through a sieve with a wooden spoon.
For the sauce: pour the vegetable puree into a medium‑sized saucepan and heat to a low
boil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and sugar. If the sauce needs
thinning, add some water or beef broth. Finally, just before serving, stir the sour cream
into the sauce and heat it through. Don’t let it boil, or you risk the sour cream curdling.
Serve slices of the tenderloin with dumplings: ladle the sauce over.
For the bread dumplings / knedliky:
3 cups white flour
3 cups semolina
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk (or thereabouts)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 baguette / French stick or similar French bread, cubed
Mix the flour, semolina and baking powder together in a large bowl. Make a well in the
center and break in the egg. Mix in some milk and the salt: then start mixing in the
flour. Stir the dough very hard with a wooden spoon for about ten minutes, adding milk
if necessary until bubbles start to form (or mix for several minutes in a food processor,
using the plastic blade). Add some of the cubed bread: continue to mix. Keep adding
bread until the dough is pretty full of it.
Put the dough on a floured board. Divide into four pieces, shaping them into small
loaves by rolling them on the board with your hands.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Put in two of the dumplings and let them
cook for 12 minutes: flip them over and cook for thirteen minutes more. Remove and
repeat with the other two dumplings.
Place the cooked dumplings on a cutting board. Don’t try to slice them with a knife: the
dumplings are likely to get crushed and lose their lightness. Instead, take a long piece of
sewing thread, slide under one of the dumplings (the short way), wrap it around the top
and pull tight to slice. Repeat until the dumpling are all sliced. Place them in a covered
serving bowl to keep warm.
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of red wine
1 TBSP of Rum
2 TBSP of Orange liqueur
butter to your liking
1. rinse cranberries and pick out any stems or bad berries
2. put cranberries into a medium pot and add water so cranberries are immersed about 1/2 to 3/4 way (it depends how “liquid-y” you would like your sauce)
3. add sugar, stir and bring all ingredients in the pot to boil
4. lower the heat and cook about 15 minutes
5. add red wine and cook another 10 min on low heat
6. finally add rum and liqueur, stir and turn off the heat
7. add about 1/4 to 1/2 of the stick of butter into the sauce and stir until butter melts