Vepro knedlo zelo translates directly to pork, dumplings and cabbage. This dish was recommended by a colleague of Cosmin. But I have to be frank, when I when I looked it up on Google images I was faced with what resembled a students’ photographic record of every school dinner they’ve ever had. Vepro knedlo zelo looked distinctly unappealing and I almost decided not to try it. Almost. However, in the spirit of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and on reviewing the recipes which, images aside, were tempting, we went with it.
It’s a good thing we did, it’s delicious! Proper comfort food. I’m a massive fan of braising meat, I do like a dumpling and Cosmin is a fiend for cabbage. The tang of the cabbage perfectly offsets the richness of the pork and the dumplings are fluffy little carb bombs which soak up the gravy like nothing else could.
Much like the babgulyas we cooked for our Hungarian week, there is at least one recipe per Czech household for vepro knedlo zelo. Different spices are used with the meat, sometimes the dumplings are potato based and sometimes wheat, cabbage can be fresh or sauerkraut, white or red. This is our version, enjoy.
- 2 onions finely diced
- 25g lard
- 1.3kg boneless pork shoulder joint
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 green apple roughly grated
- 2 tbsp lard
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 small red cabbage finely shredded
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml red wine
- 330ml luke warm milk
- 0.5 tsp caster sugar
- 7g dried yeast
- 750g plain flour
- 0.5tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 50g white bread (about 1 slice)
- 2 tbsp lard
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 703
- Fat | 27.7g
Serves | 10
Prep Time | Pork 15 minutes. Red Cabbage 5 minutes. Dumplings 10 minutes plus 1 hour 10 minutes rising time.
Cooking Time | Pork 3 hours 15 minutes. Red Cabbage 40 minutes. Dumplings 15-20 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 145°c.
- Melt the lard in a large saucepan and saute the onions until they're translucent.
- Slice the pork into four equal sized pieces and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Mix together the salt, pepper, cumin and garlic and rub liberally over the meat.
- Add the meat to the onions, stir to coat and cook for a further 2-3 minutes turning the meat halfway through.
- Transfer to a casserole dish and pour in enough water to reach two thirds up the meat. Cover with a lid or tin foil (if using foil make sure it is tightly sealed). Cook for 3-3.5 hours until tender.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and leave to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
- Meanwhile to make the gravy spoon a couple of tablespoons of the left over braising liquid (the pork juices left in the pan) into a saucepan and stir in the flour, add the rest of the liquid in a slow trickle mixing all the while and then bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for ten or so minutes until it has reduced to a nice thick gravy.
- Melt the lard in a large saucepan and saute the onion until translucent.
- Stir in the sugar and apple and continue to cook until it starts to caramelise.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper then stir in the chopped cabbage and cook for a further three minutes.
- Add the red wine vinegar and three tablespoons of water, cover and steam on low to medium for 15 minutes.
- Remove briefly from the heat and stir in the flour followed by the red wine. Cover and return to a low heat for approximately 15 minutes until tender
- Mix together the milk, sugar and yeast. Cover and leave for ten minutes in a warm draft-free place for the yeast to activate.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt, make a well in the centre and add the egg and yeast mixture. Using a fork whisk the wet ingredients into the dry from the inside out. Once a dough begins to form, turn out onto a work surface and knead for ten minutes until you have a smooth pliable dough.
- Chop, grate or blitz in a food processor the bread until you have breadcrumbs. Add the crumbs to the dough and knead for another couple of minutes.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover and leave to rise for an hour in a warm draft-free place.
- Divide the dough into three and roll each piece into a sausage about 8cm in diametre.
- Bring a very large pan of salted water to the boil and add the dumplings. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
- To serve, drain and cut into slices.