Recipes from the Czech Republic (2024)

I have a new look! And I'm still tweaking it, so bear with me. It's really still a long way from perfect. But cool, huh? I was really tired of the old template.

Anyway this week is all about caraway seeds. Because Czechs, as you probably were not aware, love caraway seeds, and they put them in everything.

Recipes from the Czech Republic (1)Which means of course that our country d'jour is the Czech Republic. Not Czechoslovakia, which is what they used to call it when I was a kid. Back in the early 90s after communism did its big nose dive, the old country was divided into two: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic (which evidently also likes caraway seeds).

Despite its communist heritage, today's Czech Republic is actually quite prosperous, in fact it is the second-richest country in Eastern Europe with a GDP per capita that is roughly similar to that enjoyed by the Portugese.

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Prague, Czech Republic. Photo Credit: [ changó ] via Compfight cc

Recipes from the Czech Republic (3)A few fun facts about the Czech Republic: it has more than 2,000 castles, keeps and ruins, which gives it the highest density of such sites of any nation in the world (and automatically makes it a place where I want to go, because I love old castles). It has the fifth highest ranking in the world for freedom of the press, and its people are the world's heaviest consumers of beer.

The Czech Republic is actually famous for its pastries, which I didn't do (that old New Year's Resolution about eating healthy), and of course its beer. In less abundant times, meat was only consumed once a week, though today it is much more popular. For my menu I chose a set of traditional recipes which are typically served together, often in restaurants. Here they are:

Vepřová Pečene (Roast Pork)
(These recipes are all from My Prague Sights)

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs prepared mustard
  • 2 tbs caraway seeds
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs salt*
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs pork roast
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup beer (or water)
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tbs butter

*Czech dishes tend to be salty, so adjust this amount according to how much salt you personally prefer.

Served with:

Houskové Knedlíky (Yeast Dumplings)

  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cubed bread roll


Zeli (Simple Sauerkraut)

  • 4 slices bacon, sliced into small strips
  • 1 lb sauerkraut (with juice)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp cold water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • sugar and vinegar to taste

Starting with the pork: first make a marinade out of the oil, mustard, caraway seeds, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Rub the pork all over with this mixture and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Now preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the chopped onions in a layer on the bottom of the roasting pan and add the beer or water (the only beer I had was Guinness, which really isn't very Czech, so I just went with water). Now put the roast on top of the onions and cover loosely with foil.

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Roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, turning once (the USDA recently declared this to be pork's new safe internal temperature, down fro a long-time standard of 160). Let rest for 10 minutes.
Transfer the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan and add the cornstarch and butter. Simmer until thick and serve over the sliced meat.

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Meanwhile, make the dumplings:

I used my bread machine, of course, because I'm way too lazy to do things the old-fashioned way. But here are the non-bread machine instructions:

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the sugar. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, egg and cubed bread roll in a large bowl. When the yeast is frothy, add it to the bowl and mix well. Knead for 10 minutes. Separate the dough into four rolls and then cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour or so.

Now boil some salted water and add one or two of the rolls to the pot. Cover and let boil for about 20 minutes. When finished, the dumplings should be very light and fluffy (mine were not!)

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Decidedly un-fluffy dumplings.

OK now for the sauerkraut, which was the simplest recipe of the three:

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First fry up the bacon and set aside. Now add the onion to the pan with some butter and saute until translucent. Add the sauerkraut and simmer until tender. Return the bacon to the pan and season with the salt, pepper and the ubiquitous caraway seeds.

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Now combine the cornstarch with water and add to the sauerkraut. Cook for a few more minutes, then remove from heat and add sugar and vinegar to taste.

So, something went terribly wrong with my dumplings. OK I know exactly what it was, it was the fact that I didn't leave enough time in my day to make them. They didn't rise long enough, and I'm not even sure that they cooked long enough, so instead of "light and fluffy" as the recipe described, they were "dense and un-fluffy." Sigh.

The pork was really good though, it came out perfectly and was very juicy and flavorful. The caraway seeds did give it a very, um, caraway-y flavor, which you may love or hate. Personally, I was a little put off by them and I did scrape quite a few of them off of my meat. I liked the flavor, but it is a little overpowering in those quantities.

The sauerkraut was good, I mean, as good as sauerkraut can be. I'm not personally that crazy about it under the best of circ*mstances, but Dylan loves it. Which is really odd for a 7-year-old, but I do have odd kids.

So there you go, the Czech Republic. Have you ever had food from that part of the world? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!

Next week: Denmark

For printable versions of this week's recipes:

Recipes from the Czech Republic (2024)


What is the traditional dish of Czech Republic? ›

More often than not, vepřo knedlo zelo, the national dish of Czechia, will be on the menu. This dish made of pork roast, knedliky, and sauerkraut is one of the top favorites with its traditional flavors. Then there's also the Instagrammable chimney cake, trdelnik – a sweet dessert that's fun to eat and look at.

What is the famous dessert in Czech Republic? ›

Trdelnik is a traditional old Bohemian sweet pastry made of yeast dough. Strips of dough are rolled onto a cylinder (called trdlo) and baked over hot coals. Baked trdelnik is coated in sugar mixed with cinnamon or nuts. Trdelnik belongs to the typical delicacies of Prague markets and fairs.

What is the Favourite food in Czech? ›

One of the favorite Czech dishes is sirloin with dumplings served with cream sauce. You can also try potato dumplings. They have a slightly yellow color and go really well with spinach and meat. Sometimes restaurants serve both types of dumplings within one dish.

What do Czechs eat for breakfast? ›

In the survey, Czechs reported that they most often eat dairy products, jam, cereals, savory pastries, and eggs for breakfast, and about one-fifth of Czechs do not eat breakfast at all. Earlier research found that in addition to pastries, cold cuts are also commonly found on the Czech breakfast table.

What is a Czech dessert that is one of the most famous dishes of that culture? ›

Did you know that the famous Kolache pastries come from the Czech Republic? Or that the Czechs bake tasty and flaky Vanocka, braided sweet bread at Christmas? Browse the traditional Czech and Slovak desserts and pastries. Each recipe is worth trying!

What do they drink in Czech Republic? ›

Let's have a look at some beverages that are popular in the Czech Republic.
  • Beer. Beer is probably the first drink that pops up first when people hear about Czechia. ...
  • Wine. Wine is typical in the region of Moravia. ...
  • Lemonade. After discussing beer and wine, let's have a look at some soft drinks.

What is Czech goulash made of? ›

Czech beef goulash comprises big chunks of beef meat in a thick onion-based gravy. It's served with bread dumplings or fresh bread garnished with onions and a piece of green parsley or other greens. Together with Svickova or Rajska tomato sauce, the goulash is a staple of Czech cuisine.

What is a Czech donut called? ›

Tarkedli (or talkedli) is a Czech donut that appeared in the Hungarian cuisine first in the 19th century. In the sometime Austro-Hungarian Monarchy the wealthier families liked to employ Czech female chefs who were the real masters of preparing pastries.

What is the famous Czech ice cream? ›

The Czech brand, Míša's Lollies, has been selling in stores all over the Czech Republic since 1962. And in all this time, the recipe has not changed! This traditional delicacy contains vanilla ice cream made from cream and homemade cottage cheese, covered in dark chocolate.

What is the famous cake in Prague? ›

Trdelnik or “Cesky Trdelnik” loosely translates to “Czech spindle cake” in English, and it's a delightful pastry that's often seen as a national pride. This tasty pastry is basically made of thin dough that's rolled over a spindle and glazed with caramelized sugar, cinnamon and crushed nuts are also added.

What is the most popular street food in Prague? ›

Guide to the Best of Prague's Street Food
  • Halušky. This hearty dish is perfectly suited for cold winter days. ...
  • Ham. If you're perusing the offerings at the local food stands, you'll see large hocks of ham slow roasting over a flame. ...
  • Trdelník. ...
  • Sausages (Klobásy) ...
  • Mulled Wine. ...
  • Fried Cheese Sandwich. ...
  • Potatoes on a Stick.
Oct 14, 2020

What are Bohemian Czech foods? ›

One special one is called “Kulajda” a traditional Bohemian soup made of sour cream, potatoes, mushrooms, dill and egg. Another specific soup is “Kyselo”, a Northern Bohemian soup made from sourdough rye bread, mushrooms and caraway. Carp soup is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve.

What is a raw meat dish in Czech Republic? ›

Tatarský biftek or tatarák, is the Czech version of steak tartare, a dish made of fresh, minced raw beef seasoned with salt, pepper and other ingredients. Although tatarák is not strictly a Czech meal, it enjoys huge popularity in Czechia and is one of the staples on the menus of many a pub or restaurant.

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