Magazine article Sunset

Ask the Czechs about a Serious Winter Meal

Magazine article Sunset

Ask the Czechs about a Serious Winter Meal

Article excerpt

In the winter dishes of traditional Czechoslovakian cuisine, long-lasting roots and fruits from the cellar were often used in a variety of ways within the same menu-with surprisingly distinctive results.

Here, celery root and carrots have dual roles: they're raw and crisp in an appetizer salad, and also cooked to make a sauce for the roast and the dumplings. Apples are sauteed and served with the roast, too.

This Czech meal for 6 starts with a root vegetable slaw and a cottage cheese spread, both to eat on crusty bread. You can munch walnuts, too, or eat them with the cheese. Then settle down to bowls of broth and liver balls, followed by a roast, vegetable sauce, stuffed dumplings, warm apples, and asparagus.

For dessert, a token taste of chocolate to go with coffee and cordial is ample.

Celery Root and Carrot Slaw

Cottage Cheese Spread Walnuts

Sliced Baguette

Liver Balls in Broth

Beef Rib Roast with Apples and Roasted Vegetable Sauce

Crouton Dumplings Hot Asparagus

Dry German, Alsatian, or Domestic


Chocolate Bon Bons

Blackberry Cordial Strong Coffee

A day ahead, you can make the appetizers, the soup, and the crouton dumplings. You can also pare and cut the vegetables for the sauce.

If you prefer to cook the asparagus a few hours ahead, immerse it, when done, in ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the color. Before serving, place it in hot water for a few minutes to warm. While the roast cooks, you can peel and slice the apples and start heating them.

A dry but fruity white wine such as Gewurztraminer is refreshing. If you prefer, choose a dry, smooth red wine such as a mature Barbera or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Celery Root and Carrot Slaw

To eat, mound onto thin slices of baguette or crisp rolls.

1 medium-size carrot, peeled and finely shredded

1 celery root (about 1/2 lb., or 1 piece), scrubbed, peeled, and finely shredded

1/4 cup sour cream or unflavored yogurt

Salt and pepper

2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice

Thin lemon slice (optional)

Mix together carrot, celery root, and sour cream, and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up until the next day. Serve in a small bowl, garnished with lemon slice. Makes 3 cups, 6 servings.

Per serving: 38 cal.; 0.9 g protein; 4.6 g carbo.; 2.1 g fat; 4.2 mg chol.; 42 mg sodium.

Cottage Cheese Spread

Spread cheese mixture onto thin slices of baguettes or crisp rolls. Sprinkle walnut halves or pieces onto cheese.

1 1/2 cups small-curd cottage cheese

1/2 teaspoon paprika


In a blender or food processor, whirl cottage cheese and paprika until smooth; add salt to taste. Spoon cheese into a small bowl; if made ahead, cover and chill up until next day. Makes 1 1/2 cups, 6 servings.

Per tablespoon: 14 cal; 1.6 g protein; 0.4 g carbo.; 0.6 g fat; 1.9 mg chol.; 53 mg sodium.

Liver Balls in Broth

1/4 pound beef liver, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk or water

1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon dry marjoram leaves

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

6 cups regular-strength beef broth

Trim membrane and tubes from liver and discard. Cut liver into chunks and put in a food processor or blender with bread crumbs, egg, milk, butter, garlic, 1 tablespoon parsley, marjoram, salt, and pepper; whirl until smoothly pureed, then set aside (or cover and chill until next day).

In a 4- to 5-quart pan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Quickly spoon liver mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, into boiling broth. …

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