Czech Cuisine in Autumn

Czech Cuisine in Autumn

Autumn is a time of shorter days and colder weather, so why not make it more cosy with some traditional Czech cuisine. Add some Czech recipes to your autumn menu.

Autumn is a season that is generous to the kitchen. And the same applies to Czech cuisine. Cereals and legumes have been harvested, autumn fruit is ripening, potatoes are being dug out, pumpkins, root and cruciferous vegetables are already stored in the cellar. Geese and ducks have enough fat to end up in the oven, and we should not forget to also mention the young wine tasting, as well as various autumn festivities full of good food and drink including various festivals, banquets and St. Martin’s Day.
Let’s build an autumn menu together with some interesting regional Czech recipes that contain excellent seasonal ingredients.

Our great-grandmothers used to say that soup opens the stomach and today’s nutritionists confirm that. Tasty, thick soups have always been the basis of Czech cuisine, and as such they should not be missing on our autumn table. Every Czech housekeeper would always have some carrots on hand, as they are the foundation of many sauces and soups. Creamy soups have always been popular, and this one from autumn carrots was cooked where pumpkins did not grow very well, mostly in the mountains.

Creamy carrot soup

Ingredients (serves 4):
800 g carrots
200 g onions
50 cl oil
Salt, pepper, chilli or about 0.5 cm of ginger (may be omitted)
1.8 l vegetable stock
Chives or green onions
Preparation: Peel the carrots and slice into thin circles, chop the onions finely, fry everything in oil until the carrots caramelise, then add salt and pepper. Pour in the stock and cook until the carrots are soft. Blend finely with a hand-held mixer and cook for a few minutes. Season: if the soup is too sweet, add some chilli or grated ginger. You can add heavy cream or sour cream. Decorate the individual portions with chopped chives or green onions.


Poultry, be it chickens, turkeys, ducks or geese, used to be a big part of special Czech occasions, especially around St. Martin’s Day. It was when the poultry, full from spring, reached the proper weight at the end of its life and became a delicious roast to reward the maids and farmhands who were preparing to leave to seek work elsewhere, or were negotiating new contracts with their current farmer, around St. Martin’s Day. We should also reward ourselves today, for example, with this speciality from West Bohemia:

Roasted duck with fruit, ginger cabbage and Karlovy Vary dumpling

It is served with a delicious fruit sauce, fine Karlovy Vary dumplings and spicy cabbage. You can use any fruit: pears or plums are also excellent.
 
Ingredients:
1 duck, about 2 kg
salt
whole caraway seeds
2 tablespoons of honey
2 apples
1 orange
a handful of raisins
Preparation: Season the duck with salt and caraway seeds, brush it with the honey. Roast together with peeled fruit, cut up into smaller pieces, and raisins. Moisten by pouring a little hot water over it and the juices. Prepare gravy by cooking down the juices.

Ginger cabbage
1/2 white cabbage
1 onion
fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb
125 g butter
white wine
1 large apple
salt
Preparation: Chop the white or red cabbage into long strings, chop the onion and ginger into small cubes. Fry everything in hot butter, add the wine and braise until soft. Finish by adding the grated apple and season with salt.
 
Fine Karlovy Vary dumplings
1 kg of light bread rolls
4 eggs
50 g butter
250-300 ml of cooking cream
2 handfuls of parsley
mace
salt
butter for brushing
Preparation: Cut the bread into small cubes and dry in the oven. Remove the bread from the oven, add the cream, melted butter, yolks, chopped parsley, and season with salt and mace and mix. Finish by adding beaten egg whites. Wrap in foil and steam for 15 to 20 minutes, according to size.


 
St. Martin’s Day comes with a traditional dessert, delicate rolls filled with a nut and poppy seed filling. St. Martin’s rolls are quick and very tasty, and they are not only great after an autumn lunch, but also as breakfast, or with a cup of coffee.

St. Martin’s rolls

Ingredients:
450 g all-purpose flour
3 yolks
250 g fat (butter, Hera or lard)
100 g powder sugar
0.25 l 33% heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 whole egg for brushing
nut or poppy seed filling made from 200 g of nuts or poppy seeds
Preparation: Make a smooth and non-sticky dough from all the ingredients, wrap in foil and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Then divide the dough into 6 parts, form a disk (circle) out of each part and divide into 8 triangles. Place the filling on the wider end, roll it up, shape the roll and place it on a baking tin lined with baking paper. Brush with the egg and bake for about 15 minutes at 180°C.


 
To find more inspiration from Czech regional cuisine, visit www.czechspecials.cz
Czech Specials – Taste the Czech Republic project’s website not only offers interesting recipes, but there is also a list of certified restaurants. Only those restaurants that properly cook authentic Czech cuisine can use the blue logo on their door!

Taste the Czech Republic!