Svickova na smetane {Beef Sirloin with Cream Sauce}

The other day I was looking for a delicious beef tenderloin recipe, and came across Svikova, which is the national dish of the Czech Republic. It sounded a little strange, but it looked so familiar to me, and then I realized I had tried Svickova before. Years ago my older brother lived in Prague for a couple of years (serving as a missionary for my church), so my family went to visit him and he took us to get some Svikova and dumplings. The best part about going to visit someone who knows the area well, is that you get to see and eat all the best things! Prague is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! I don’t remember the Svikova all that well… but I just remembered that I loved it! So I thought I would give this recipe a try {and make my older brother extremely jealous!} ;-)

I decided to invite my sister and brother inlaws over for dinner–which was brave, because whenever I invite someone over it ALWAYS ends up going terribly wrong! But actually, for once, it turned out even BETTER than I was anticipating it to be. I didn’t marinade the beef tenderloin the day before like I was supposed to (due to a little poor planning), so it was kind of tough, but the sauce was absolutely to die for delicious. I sent a pic of the Svikova to my brother James, and he said: “It looks perfect, but next time you need a lot more sauce. The czech’s cover everything with the sauce, and never serve it sparingly!” So, then I told him next time I would just make svikova soup. It’s SO full of flavor… creamy, lemony, salty, and what’s even greater is how healthy it is! Packed FULL of delicious seasonal root vegetables. Served alongside the beef tenderloin, and dumplings with fresh cream and home made raspberry jam… this recipe is pretty hard to beat for a cold December night.

So, here is the recipe! {adapted from europeancuisines}

2 pound beef tenderloin
1 slice of bacon, sliced into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium parsnips, chopped
1/2 small celeriac root, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup / 8 fluid ounces red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons butter or lard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
The juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
{for the dumplings}

For the Dumplings {adapted from Prague-online-guide}
4 cups of flour (500 g)
1 package of yeast
2 eggs
A pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
1 cup of warm milk

24 hours before cooking time: Lard and marinate the beef. Using a small sharp knife, make small cuts in the tenderloin and insert one of the pieces of sliced-up bacon into each. Season well with salt and black pepper (fresh-ground or not, as you prefer).

Put the meat into a glass or ceramic (not metal) pan large enough to hold the meat but small enough to keep it covered by the marinade. Surround and cover it with the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle on thyme, allspice and parsley. Season with salt and more pepper: add bay leaves. Pour in the vinegar and two tablespoons of the oil. Add a little more water or vinegar if you need to in order to cover the meat (remember that the vegetables will let off a little liquid in the marinade). Cover the pan and refrigerate. Turn the meat in the marinade occasionally.

{P.S. I know I put it in a metal roasting tin, but I skipped the marinading step} :-/

The next day: Preheat the oven to 175C / 350F. Remove the tenderloin from the marinade: pat it dry with paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil very hot in a drying pan big enough to take the tenderloin. Sear the meat all over: then remove to a roasting pan.

Pour a little water into the frying pan — half a cup or so — and boil rapidly, scraping the pan to get the remains of the searing into solution. Then pour these juices over the roast. Surround it with all the vegetables and pour over the marinating liquid. Place the butter or lard on top of the meat. Then put it in the oven and roast, basting occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

When the meat is done, take it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to a very low setting (under 50C / 100F). Remove the roast from the pan: pour all remaining liquid and the vegetables into a pan. Put the meat back in the pan and return to the oven. Meanwhile, puree the liquid and vegetables in a blender or food processor, or push them through a sieve with a wooden spoon.

For the sauce: pour the vegetable puree into a medium-sized saucepan and heat to a low boil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and sugar. If the sauce needs thinning, add some water or beef broth. Finally, just before serving, stir the sour cream into the sauce and heat it through. Don’t let it boil, or you risk the sour cream curdling.

Serve slices of the tenderloin with dumplings and garnish with lemon, whipped cream & jam
P.S. Yes, that would be my brother in laws hand in the photo! Every time I try to take pictures with my husband around, he always tries to get his hand in it… now I had FOUR hands to contend with. Not easy!

{for the dumplings}
Combine the milk, yeast, and sugar in a bowl, and combine the salt and flour in another. Add the flour to the liquid bowl once the yeast has dissolved, and add the rest of the milk and eggs. Knead the dough very thoroughly, and let it sit in a covered bowl for 1 hour.

Once the dough has risen, tear it into three pieces and knead the dough into loaves. Let them rise again for half an hour under a towel, after which time you will place them in a pot of boiling water to cook for 15 minutes.

Half way through the cooking, roll the loaves over so they cook thoroughly, and remove them from the water and place them onto a cutting board to cool down.

Use string to cut the dumplings while they are still warm.

What I also love about Svikova, is that it makes a pretty perfect sunday roast dinner. You do all the work the day before, then sunday you just have to take it out of the fridge, sear it up and shove it in the oven! It’s so simple and delicious, and so warm and hearty for a cold December night. I remember being in Prague this time of year, and it was so snowy and beautiful! We need some snow up here in Washington State! (Or I just need to go and re-visit Prague!)

Enjoy this recipe! It sounds weird, but trust me, I know you will!
<3 Sarah