Sirloin with Cream Sauce (Svíčková)

Sirloin with Cream Sauce (Svíčková)
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  • 750g sirloin or back beef
    50g bacon lardons
    salt, ground pepper
    2 carrots
    150g celeriac
    1 parsley
    1 onion
    5 peppercorns
    3 allspice (whole)
    3 bay leaves
    pinch of thyme
    150g melted unsalted butter
    juice from 1 lemon
    100g mustard (Czech mustard is less spicy than English mustard, you could use yellow mustard or decrease the amount of using English/Dijon mustard)
    2 tablespoons plain flour
    250ml whipping cream
    milk for diluting (if required)
    sliced lemon
    cranberry sauce
    Creamy sauce flavoured by root vegetables, soft beef and bacon larding is mostly served with bread dumplings (houskový knedlík). Only a very few Czech restaurants do not include this traditional dish on their menu. While various recipes for beef in cream sauce can be found around the world, the Czech recipe is somewhat different as the meat is initially larded and then marinated in a vinegary marinade. Czechia has plenty of venison meat thanks to its large forests and this special dish used to be originally cooked with venison or other game meat. The game was usually marinated in a vinegary marinade to make it more tender and tastier. The marinating meat used to be stored in a cold place (often a cellar) and the cook would regularly turn it over, often using a candle for light. This brings us to the Czech name of the dish - “Svíčková” which means “linked to a candle-stick”. Each family has its own traditional recipe, this is also the case for many chefs in Czech Specials-certified restaurants. Why not try it at home?


  • Clean the meat, remove membranes and lard the meat with bacon. Then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Clean and finely dice the onion and peel and grate the vegetables. Put the vegetables a casserole dish, place the meat on top, add spices, sprinkle with lemon juice and pour over the melted butter. Cover with a lid and let marinate in the fridge overnight.

    The next day baste the meat with some water and stew in the oven, covered with a lid. When tender, take the meat out and let rest. Remove the spices from the sauce, especially the bay leaves.

    Bring the sauce slowly to boil. Add mustard, two tablespoons of flour and stir. Pour in the cream, boiling gently and mixing from time to time. If the sauce is too thick, dilute it with some milk. Finally pressed the softened vegetables in the sauce through a sieve. Season with salt, add some lemon juice or sugar. To improve the taste, you can add some caramelized sugar (caramelize one tablespoon of sugar, when it starts melting and turns brown, baste with some water and cook).

    Slice the meat, put back in the sauce and heat up. Serve with bread dumplings, garnished with a slice of lemon and cranberry sauce.
    Extra tip:
    Some cooks fry the vegetable before adding them to the sauce mixture, arguing, that this gives the sauce the right darker shade. Try yourselves to see which version you prefer.

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