The Famous Candle Sauce

Advent Sunday calls for an exceptional lunch. We bring you a recipe for a traditional Czech sauce: svíčková (literally the candle sauce), roast sirloin in sour cream sauce.

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Preparation time: 

  • 4 hours including freezing and roasting 

 Ingredience:

  • 600 to 800 g sirloin  

  • 100 g slab of bacon  

  • 4 carrots 

  • 2 parsley roots 

  • half a celeriac  

  • 2 onions 

  • 2 tablespoons butter 

  • oil 

  • 1 tablespoon flour  

  • 0.5 litre stock (can be substituted with water) 

  • 5 allspice berries   

  • 5 peppercorns  

  • 3 bay leaves 

  • 2 tablespoons butter 

  • 1 tablespoon flour 

  • 250 ml whipping cream 

  • lemon wedges and cranberries for garnish

First prepare the meat. If you are skilled in sewing or embroidery, this will come in handy, as it’s crafty work. Cut the bacon into 1 cm wide sticks, each with a pointy end. Put the bacon in the freezer for about an hour. Also cut half of the carrots into pointy sticks. Remove all membranes from the meat and with a sharp thin knife cut long horizontal slits into the meat, almost to the other side. Insert the frozen bacon sticks and carrot sticks into the slits.  

  

Salt and pepper the outside of the meat. Heat the oil in a pot or a pan and sear the meat on all sides. When sealed, put the meat in a deep baking dish. Keep the pot/pan for the vegetables.  

  

Peel the remaining carrots, parsley roots and celeriac and cut them into small pieces or grate them coarsely. Sauté the vegetables in 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot/pan in which you seared the meat, then add chopped onion and sauté gently until the vegetables are golden. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the vegetables, stir well, and continue to sauté for another minute. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, and then add everything to the meat in the baking dish. Add allspice, peppercorns and bay leaves and bake at 180 °C for 1.5 or ideally 2 hours, until the meat is soft. Turn the meat periodically. 

 

Once the meat is roasted, remove it from the baking dish and set it aside. Puree the vegetables through a fine sieve.  

 

In another pot, warm 2 tablespoons of butter until frothy, add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well until you have a light roux. Pour in part of the vegetable puree, mix it with a whisk, and then add the remaining puree. Simmer for about 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper, and add lemon juice as required. Pour in the whipping cream at the very end. 

 

Heat the meat before serving and cut it into thin slices with a sharp knife. Serve with dumplings and the sauce and garnish with cranberries and a wedge of lemon. 

You can find more Czech traditional recipes accompanied by Michaela Karásek Čejková’s collages in Soffa 29 dedicated to Plenitude:


Recipe taken from the cookbook Bez buchet se nevdáš! [Won’t Be A Bride Without Buns!] by Adéla Hálková and Kateřina Podoláková, Došel karamel [We’ve run out of caramel], Prague 2018.  | recipe photo: Marek Podhora | collage: Michaela Karásek Čejková

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