03 March 2014

Svíčková na Smetaně with Bread Dumplings

If you already haven't figured it out, I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Czech Republic. Sometimes, I really miss the Czech Republic, but the Czech Republic is 8 time zones away and that's not a quick or cheap trip so I have to settle with missing the Czech republic and reading my Czech friends status updates, which just makes me miss the Czech republic more. Someday, I'll take the hubby to the Czech Republic for a fantastic vacation, but until then the best I can do when I miss CR is cook Czech food. The only thing I've ever really know how to make is fruit dumplings, and they are fantastic, but lately I've really been craving Svíčková na Smetaně, or as know in english, Beef in Sour Cream Sauce. Well, I'd never made Svickova before, not from scratch anyway. I made it from mixes once, but I was willing to try to make it for real this time. I searched the internet for a recipe and found two at the top of the list that had the same exact ingredients list. I figured this would be the recipe to try. Well, there was one difference in two recipes. One called for red wine vinegar and the other had balsamic vinegar. This is a big difference. I'm telling you right now, Do not use balsamic vinegar! That's what I did. I had balsamic vinegar in my cupboard and figured I could save my self the trouble of buying red wine vinegar. WRONG! It tasted good, but the balsamic vinegar was a bit strong (I even used less than the amount called for) so the flavor of my Svickova was a little off, still delicious, but off. So, I'm telling you to learn from my mistakes. Balsamic vinegar is not a proper substitute for red wine vinegar, at least not in this recipe. Although, I should have realized something was off when I was reading the recipe that called for balsamic, and in the instruction it said red wine.  Anyway,  I kind of simplified my Svickova, by cooking it in the slow cook. So there was no searing and a lot less butter and it was still fantastic......Use red wine vinegar.

Svíčková na Smetaně
  • 2-3 pounds beef roast
  • 1 slice of bacon, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium parsnips, chopped
  • 1/2 small celery root, diced (I didn't find this at the local supermarket, but the nearby Sprouts Farmers Market carried it)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 cup / 8 fluid ounces red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
24 hours before cooking time, cut small slits into beef and stuff with slices of bacon, rub meat with softened butter and season with salt and pepper. If the ceramic bowl of you slow cooker is removable, place meat in the ceramic bowl of your slow cooker, if not use a glass bowl. Surround meat with chopped onion, carrots, parsnip, and celery root. Sprinkle on thyme, allspice and parsley. Season with salt and more pepper: add bay leaves. Pour in the vinegar. Add a little more water or vinegar if you need to in order to cover the meat, but remember that the vegetables will let off a little liquid in the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Turn the meat in the marinade occasionally.

After letting meat marinade for 24 hours, transfer everything to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. After meat is done cooking, Remove meat from crockpot and place on plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. 

Puree the vegetables and juices marinade with blender or food processor. 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.

Slice meat and serve with sauce and bread dumplings (see recipe below). If desired,  Garish with a lemon slice and a little bit of cranberry sauce

Bread Dumplings
  • 4 cups of flour (500 g)
  • 1 package of yeast (I used 1 tablesoon)
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup of warm milk
  • 2 stale hot dog buns, cubed
Combine the 1 cup wark milk, yeast, and sugar in a bowl, until yeast is disolved. Combine the salt and flour in another. Add the flour to the liquid bowl once the yeast has dissolved, and add the rest of the milk and eggs. Knead the dough very thoroughly, and let it sit in a covered bowl for 1 hour.

Once the dough has risen, knead the hot dog buns tear it into three pieces and knead the dough into loaves about 2 inches wide and 6-8 inches long . Let them rise again for 20-30 under a towel. In the mean time, start a large pot of salted water to boil. After the loves have risen, place them in the boiling water. (you'll only be able to cook one or two loves at a time, the poof up quite a bit.) Boil for 15-20 minutes flipping over once to make sure dumplings cook evenly. Remove from water and let cool. Cut into 3/4 inch slices.

This is me at Helfstyn castle ruins. This was one of my favorite castles/mansions I got to see.

And this is me and my friend, using her crutches to sword fight on a draw bridge at Karlstejn Castle.


  1. Hi Erin,
    try to ask your Czech friends to send you this instant svíčková - http://nakup.itesco.cz/cs-CZ/ProductDetail/ProductDetail/2001000103058 Link is just for an idea.

  2. This sounds delicious. I might have to try this recipe. :)


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