Dusene Teleci na Kmine (Veal Ragout With Caraway Seeds)

This recipe comes from a Czech babicka (grandmother) via Alexander Lobrano, Gourmet magazine’s European correspondent and author of Hungry for Paris. The addition of the caraway seeds marks the recipe as characteristically Czech.

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless veal shoulder, cubed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of finely chopped onions
1 1/2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups of rich chicken stock
1 1/2 cups of sliced button mushrooms

Directions:

Lightly salt and pepper the veal. Melt butter in a 12-inch pan. When the butter stops foaming, add the onions and cook until wilted. Add the veal and sprinkle with flour and caraway seeds. Stir to coat the meat evenly with flour. Cover and cook over gentle heat for ten minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Add the mushrooms, cover, and simmer for an hour, until the veal is tender. If the veal is too dry, add more stock. Correct seasoning and serve with buttered noodles or bread dumplings.

Servings: Serves four

Cesky Gulas (Simple Czech Goulash)

Though goulash originally hails from Hungary, it’s also quintessentially Czech and every pub cook and homemaker has his or her own variation. Czech goulash tends to be milder and meatier than its Hungarian cousin—though both rely heavily on sweet paprika. You’ll rarely see goulash served with potatoes—only bread or bread dumplings.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons cooking oil
3-4 medium sized onions, chopped
1 1/4 pounds of good quality beef, cut into one-inch cubes
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika (more if desired)
2 teaspoons of ground caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon of marjoram
4 cups of cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Warm the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until wilted. Add the beef cubes and allow them to brown. Then add the paprika, but don’t let it cook too long or it will turn bitter—ten seconds is fine. Add the water and caraway, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for a couple of hours. The sauce will gradually thicken. Just before finishing, add the marjoram. When serving, add some chopped raw onion on top.

Servings: Serves two to four

Ovocne Knedliky (Fruit Dumplings)

This traditional dessert favorite seems harder and harder to find on Prague menus, pushed aside by more modern concoctions like cheesecake and tiramisu. This recipe was adapted from the food blog bFeedMe (www.bfeedme.com).

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
11 peaches (or 15 plums), chopped
Powdered sugar
Cottage cheese

Directions:

Boil milk, butter, and salt in a saucepan while stirring continuously. Remove from heat. Whisk egg into the milk mixture, gradually adding half of the flour (one cup). Mix well. On a flat surface sprinkled with the remaining flour, knead the dough into a large ball. Wrap pieces of the dough around the chopped fruit, pinching the dumplings at the edges. Place dumplings in boiling water. When they begin to rise to the surface, boil for 20 minutes (10 minutes for plum dumplings).

Serve with powdered sugar and cottage cheese.

Servings: Serves four to six

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