Today is the Independent Czechoslovak State Day, commemorating the day when the state of Czechoslovakia declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of World War I, in a bloodless revolution in Prague.
It’s worth noticing that even though 20 years ago this year, Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Czechs keep this day as their National Day.
There are processions, military parades and fireworks, but to many Czechs, the National Day feels more like a regular Sunday with no school or work and less traffic. Still it is an important day in history, a day to honour independence – and perhaps to enjoy a good meal.
Even though goulash is originally Hungarian, it’s also very common in the Czech Republic (milder & beefier), and it’s tempting to give you a version from http://www.jamieoliver.com for a chilly autumn night:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 250g onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
- 500g beef shin, cut into small cubes
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1½ litres beef stock
- 1½ tbsp chopped marjoram
- ½ tbsp caraway seeds
- Red wine vinegar
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 200g potatoes, peeled and diced Sour cream (optional), to serve
1. Add a good splash of oil to a large pan and gently sauté the onions, garlic and pepper until softened. Add the beef and continue to cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are cooked. Stir in the paprika and cook for 2 more minutes, then add 200ml of the beef stock. Bring to the boil and cook until reduced by half. Add the marjoram, caraway seeds, a splash of vinegar, the tomatoes, the tomato purée and season well.
2. Add enough stock to cover and simmer until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 1½–2 hours. Add the potatoes, plus any remaining stock and a little water if it’s looking too dry, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if you like.
By Unni Holtedahl, 28 October 2013