Since the self-quarantine order was imposed in the Czech Republic, we’ve been cooking at home more often. Social media is full of photos of bread, casseroles, stir-fries, desserts…we get hungry scrolling through our feeds.
You already know the list of top dishes we miss during quarantine includes comfort foods from the local hospoda. While we can’t yet head to the corner pub for traditional Czech dishes, we’re turning to the internet to try to make our favorite recipes.
How are our cooking adventures going? Join us with these Czech recipes that you can make during quarantine.
French toast dumplings by Little Bit of Czech
Marketa’s colorful website has recipes for Czech classics like hovězí guláš (beef goulash), svíčková (beef with cream sauce) and ovocné knedlíky (fruit dumplings). “Help in the Kitchen” has a section that explains the mysteries of Czech flour. A helpful feature of Marketa’s recipes is the ability to switch between imperial and metric measurements, handy for all of us who have not fully embraced grams and milliliters.
We were intrigued by Marketa’s recipe for Dumpling French Toast, which uses leftover bread dumplings in a creative way. Since we don’t keep bread dumplings on hand, we picked up a pre-made one at Tesco.
The results: delicious! Easy to make and you can dress it up with whatever condiments you like. We didn’t have whipped cream so we added extra macerated strawberries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. We’d definitely make this again.
Besides recipes, Marketa’s website has fun craft projects, interesting facts about Czech Republic and a photo gallery. www.littlebitofczech.com
Fried cauliflower by Czech Cookbook
Kristýna was born and raised in Brno and now resides in California. Her site has dozens of ingredient lists for everything from Česneková polévka (garlic soup) to Frog’s Mouths Cookies – Žabí huby. One drawback to this site is that only ingredients are listed and the cooking method is not – the full recipe is included in her cookbook, available on Amazon. Kristýna’s videos are instructive and fun.
We cooked smažený květák (fried cauliflower). We followed Kristýna’s recipe except we substituted panko for breadcrumbs because that’s what we had in our quarantine-depleted pantry.
Kristýna says in her video that cauliflower is usually served with potatoes for Czech meals. We had ours as a snack with a squeeze of lemon. You could also serve it with the ever-popular Czech tatarská omáčka (tartar sauce).
The site also has a recipe for making your own domácí tvaroh (homemade farmer’s cheese) and a handy conversion chart that we’ve bookmarked. Follow @czechcookbook on Twitter for more. www.czechcookbook.com
Garlic soup with cheese and croutons by Czech Cuisine
This straightforward site is full of recipes and information about Czech holiday traditions, but unfortunately no information about the authors. The section on the roots of Czech regional cuisine includes a bio of Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová. She lived between 1785 and 1845 and wrote a highly influential Home Cookbook in 1826, compiling recipes using local ingredients. She is a true pioneer of today’s “farm to table” movement.
We decided to cook one of our favorite Czech foods, česnečka polevka (garlic soup with cheese and croutons). This is what Czech Cuisine’s version looks like:
Unfortunately, Czech Cuisine’s recipes don’t include crucial details like how much water to add to the soup, how much of each spice, and how to make the croutons for the top. But after using up all the garlic in the house, we were happy with the results.
Note: ours has cheese, but bohužel (unfortunately) it sank to the bottom while plating. www.czechcuisine.net
Baked chicken with pesto halušky inspired by Marek Pavala
When it comes to drooling over picture-perfect food, our favorite local chef is Marek Pavala. Founder of Fuego rustic outdoor cooking school, Marek uses IG stories to share traditional Central European recipes like kuře na paprice (paprikash chicken) and kulajda (potato dill soup) as well as modern classics like grilled chicken and eggs benedict. His recipes are written in English and easy to follow by watching his step-by-step videos.
Inspired by Marek and his followers’ submissions, but limited by ingredients, we made some #StayAtHome substitutions. One night we made baked chicken with halušky dumplings tossed in pesto. Another night we made macaroni noodles smothered in bryndzové sheep cheese sauce, and instead of lardons, we used crispy shallots. Please forgive the unorthodox results — we blame the pandemic. Regardless, both dinners paired great with Primátor from the brewery in Náchod, Czech Republic. Na zdraví!
What are your favorite places to find Czech Recipes and which dishes have you made during quarantine?