Written by Jan Hostas
Both horseradish and ham have a rich tradition in Czech cuisine. Sunka od kosti (“Bone-in Ham”) is a variation of the world-renowned Prague Ham, a brine-cured, stewed, and mildly- smoked boneless ham, which became widely popular even abroad, which led to foreigners trying to recreate its taste. In 2018, Prague Ham managed to join the EU’s list of traditional specialties, and, as such, only the original recipe can be called “Prague Ham,” with knock-offs being allowed to be called “Prague-style ham.” Because of its status as a derivation, you can sometimes find Sunka od kosti under the name Prazska sunka od kosti (“Prague Bone-in Ham”). This variation is cooked on the bone, is considered and its recipe has remained mostly unchanged since the early 20th century. You can quite often find people selling both of these, and even more types of Czech cuisine, at various festivals or tourist destinations.
Horseradish has been part of Czech cuisine for ages. It has been planted on Czech territory since at least the 12th century. At the twilight of the 19th century, Bohemian horseradish became widely renowned. Even today it is commonly grown, and its main use is to spice up meat in various dishes, such as Czech goulash.
Despite horseradish being grated into the gravy in this recipe, it is not mandatory. It can be replaced with various other ingredients popular in Bohemian cuisine, such as dill, mushrooms, parsley, or cucumber. If a vegetarian variant is required, substituting beef broth with milk and ham with eggs is possible. As side dishes, either Czech bread dumplings, if you want to go full Czech with it, or potatoes, if you do not want to experiment too much, are recommended.
1 1/3 lb fully cooked spiral sliced bone-in ham
3/5 cup butter
3 medium sized onions
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/3 cup beef broth
4/5 cup sour cream
salt to taste
ground white pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish
Melt the butter in a pot, and then add finely chopped onions. Cook the onions until translucent, and then dust them with flour and roast them for a while to get a lightly colored roux. Stir the broth into the roux and boil for 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Season the gravy with salt and white pepper. Then pour the sour cream into the pot to soften the gravy, and continue boiling for a bit. Grate the horseradish finely, and then add it to the finished gravy. Pour the gravy over warm slices of ham.