The Czech Republic is an independent country in Central Europe consisting of the regions of Bohemia and Moravia. It was once part of the Great Moravian Empire formed by Slav tribes in the early ninth century. At the close of WW I, the Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Some interesting facts:
The Czech Republic possesses a developed high-income economy with a per capita GDP rate that is 87% of the European Union average.
Škoda Auto is one of the largest car manufacturers in Central Europe. In 2014, it sold a record number of 1,037,000 cars.
The Czech Republic has the most Wi-Fi subscribers in the European Union.
Czech people are the world’s heaviest consumers of beer.
The Charles University in Prague, founded in 1348, is the oldest university in Eastern Europe, and one of the oldest in the world in continuous operation.
The Czech chemists Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lím invented the soft contact lenses in 1959.
The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism. Prague is the fifth most visited city in Europe after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome. The spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně and Jáchymov, are also popular relaxing holiday destinations. There are many castles and palaces that appeal to visitors namely Prague Castle, the castle and chateau in Český Krumlov and Karlštejn Castle.
Czech cuisine is marked by a strong emphasis on meat dishes. Pork is quite common, beef and chicken are also popular. Dishes I came across during my research include Houbova Polevka Myslivecka (Hunter’s mushroom soup), Pečené kuře s brambory (Roasted chicken with potatoes), Koleno (Roast pork knuckle), Knedlíky (dumplings) and Schnitzel (fried breaded meat). I opted to cook Hovězí Guláš (Czech Beef Goulash) which I served with rice and thick slices of bread. Along with our guests, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Serves 4 hungry people
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
500g sirloin steak, cut into cubes
2 medium size onions, chopped
1/4 cup of oil
2 tsp caraway seeds
3 tsp sugar
3 tsp paprika
4 garlic cloves
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp salt
5 cups water
1 beef oxo cube
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp marjoram
Fry the onions in the oil over a medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes, so they are soft but not browned
Add the caraway seeds, sugar, paprika, garlic and mix well to coat, cook for 2 minutes
Add the tomato paste and mix well
Add the beef and mix well to coat
Add the salt, pepper, oxo cube and water
Bring to just before boiling point, reduce the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally
Add the breadcrumbs and stir
Simmer for a further 30 minutes
Turn off the heat, add the marjoram and stir
Serve with rice or thick slices of bread (or both)