MORAVIAN PORK “SPARROWS,” DUMPLINGS, and SAUERKRAUT

Czech name: Vepřový vrabec s bramborovým knedlíkem a zelím po moravsku

Written by Eliska Prusova

You will come across this delicious classic meal on the menu of every proper pub in the South Moravian Region. Moravian housewives, especially, should be able to manage to cook this appetizing dish. And thanks to the tempting smell of baked meat wafting far and wide from the opened window, the housewife will certainly not eat at the table alone. Also, when you introduce Czech culture to a foreigner, you should definitely let him or her taste pork sparrows, a food whose name will probably cause some confusion. Reassure your friend that this is a dish made from pork, not tiny birds – Czechs just have some funnily-named meals, including this one. Pork is a key part of the meal, but everyone falls in love with the consistency of potato dumplings, and the slightly sour taste of cabbage stays on one’s tongue for a long time afterwards.

For more information about the South Moravia Region, from which this recipe comes, click here.

Ingredients

1 lb pork shoulder
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
oil
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Wondra instant flour
3/4 cup Semolina durum wheat flour
1 Tbs caraway seeds
salt to taste
2 lbs white head cabbage
1 raw grated potato
powdered sugar to taste
vinegar to taste
2 lbs boiled potatoes
1 egg

Instructions

Take one onion and chop it finely. Fry it in oil until it turns golden brown. Put the onion into a roasting pan and lay the diced pork meat on it. Sprinkle it with caraway seeds and with slices of garlic. To grind the caraway seeds, you can use an electric coffee grinder. Then, put the roasting pan into an oven preheated to about 390F. After five minutes, decrease the temperature to 355F. Then keep baking for approximately 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and continuously add a little bit of water. After these 45 minutes take the meat out, blend the gravy with one tablespoon of all-purpose flour, and cook gently.

Cut the cleaned head of white cabbage in two and cut out the cabbage stalk. Slice the cabbage into strips, scald it with boiling water, and strain it. Gently pour water onto the cabbage and, while stirring occasionally, stew it until it turns medium-tender. Fry the finely chopped onion in the oil until it turns pink, add the ground caraway seeds, blend it with one tablespoon of sifted all-purpose flour, and fry at a moderate heat. Mix the grated potato into the cabbage. Stew until it turns tender. At the end, season the cabbage with sugar, salt and vinegar, depending on your taste, and stew briefly once again.

Press the cool, boiled and peeled potatoes or grind them in a meat grinder. Add the whipped egg, sifted Wondra instant flour, and semolina durum wheat flour and salt it. Make a tough dough and divide it to four equal pieces. Make small cylinders of each piece. Put them into boiling water and boil 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, take the boiled dumplings out of the water and slice them.

Serve the dish neatly on the plate. Bon appétit and enjoy your meal!