Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Czech Cuisine - Attempt 1

Although we have been in Czech Republic for 7 months now, I have never tried to cook Czech food by myself. Whenever we felt like it, we went out. But lately, I have been struggling to come up with creative dinner menus, and my hubby suggested that I try Czech food. So, I did :)

I found this rather simple recipe for Czech-style goulash – a rich stew originating in Hungary, and I decided to go for it. Goulash is made of meat, mostly beef, stewed with vegetables and red paprika. It is usually served with dumplings called "knedlíky."  They are typically wheat or potato based, or a combination of wheat flour and stale bread or rolls. It tastes like a traditional style 蒸しパン (mushi-pan) that my mother made when I was a kid.

I went shopping for beef.  Using my iPhone at the store standing in front of the meat section, I determined what kind of meat they were, but the package only says either "front or "back."  So, I just picked one of them, which looked rather fatty and more tender.  The recipe called for Paprika powder, so I got that, too.

First, you saute minced onion with butter and olive oil for about 15 mins (on low heat of course). Then add salt&peppered chunks of beef into the pot and brown them on each side. It took me about 15 more mins. Then add some (3 tbs) red wine (or sherry if you have it). Let the alcohol boil out for a while. Then add flour (2 tbs) and paprika powder (3 tbs) into the pot and saute for a couple of mins. Add water mixed with beef or vegetable stock (approx. 3 cups), tomato paste (2 tbs), and a bay leaf into the pot. Boil on medium heat.  Once it boils, cover, lower the heat, and continue to cook for more than an hour. I let it cook for 1.5 hrs. 15 mins before you are ready to eat, uncover, let it cook for another 15 or so mins.  I added some mushrooms and sour cream (to make it taste milder) at that point although the recipe didn't call for it :)

We can get ready-made dumplings in any stores, which is what I did.  I heated them in a microwave for about 4 mins. Serve your home-made goulash-like stew with the dumplings. My hubby loved it.

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