Sunday, September 9, 2012

Taste Testing Prague: Knedliky and Smazeny Syr

Noele is away on her semester abroad "enjoying" the food of Prague. In solidarity, we made two of the recipes she shared on her blog. I think we might be better cooks than the ones at the restaurant she went to. While we didn't think these were the greatest dishes ever, they were good and fulfilling country food, and gave us a taste of the culture she's living in.

First we made the knedliky, a boiled dumpling that incorporates stale bread. The most interesting difference in this recipe from other dumplings we've made is that the dough is whipped until the gluten is worked up.

This picture shows the consistency of the dough after the gluten has been worked up. The recipe was a bit unclear on this. I'd call this a thick sponge, not quite as thin as pancake batter.

After working up the gluten we add the cubed bread. The bread cubes do eventually disappear, but it takes a while. The result is a thick batter that will form a loaf in the cheese cloth.

You ball up the dough and boil the heck out of it. We made three-eighths of a recipe to use a single egg, so we may have over-cooked it a bit. Not that it would make much difference. The result was a dry, compact, bread-like dumpling, which you slice and cover with a cabbage and bacon mixture.

This is traditionally served with roast pork, and since we skipped that, we used a bunch more bacon in ours. It came out as a hearty dish, which didn't need the pork. If you serve it with pork, a much smaller portion of the knedlicky and cabbage would do.

Smazney Syr is szimply fried cheese. It's made with Edam cheese, and typically served with tartar sauce. Noele reported a rubbery, bland dish. We think she must have gotten cold cheese, because ours was gooey and delicious. We cooked it longer than the recipe said to, the cheese oozing out of the sides. Noele, try cooking this yourself. I think you will like it.

The dish was like our bar-food cheese sticks, but the Edam had a more delicate flavor. We could see how tartar sauce would work with this in a different culture, but it didn't work for our tastes. We have 3/4 of a ball of Edam left over. We might fry up some more. It is often served with boiled potatoes, but we skipped that since we had the knedliky.

The recipe said to serve it with a glass of beer, so I poured a Czech BOOM Böhmerwald’s Majesty. It was unusually malty-sweet. I'm not sure how they got so much residual sugar without the yeast finishing their meal and exploding the bottle. I'm glad they succeeded.

The leftover knedliky is said to make a good breakfast cubed and fried with eggs in the morning. I think I will be having eggs for breakfast.

Both recipes are at the end of Noele's blog entry.

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