Let’s talk comfort food. Those things that remind you of Sundays dinners at home, that take you right back to a simpler, more uncomplicated time. It’s like a meal that’s just as familiar and feels just as good as big bear hug from someone you love.
The best thing about comfort food is that it is different for everyone. For some, maybe it’s a giant plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Others dive into meatloaf and mashed potatoes. For me, when I think the ultimate in comfort food, my mind wanders back to cold, winter afternoons at home, cuddling on the couch with my favorite blanket, the white one with the little flowers on it (still LOVE that thing…) while the delicious scent of roast pork, gravy and dumplings filled the house.
I think I was a teenager before I realized that not everyone ate this meal at home. Seriously, I thought every family in the world sat down to roast pork and dumplings at least once every couple months. I don’t think that’s the case…seeing as Eric had never had this meal until we ate a Czech resaturant in Cedar Rapids with my parents a couple years ago. You should have seen his face twist in horror when I told him we were going to a Czech restaurant. Ha! He has an irrational fear of the unkown, especially when it comes to food. Turns out…there’s nothing to be scared of at all! Nothing beats a fab Bohemian meal!
I was so excited to try my mom’s Bohemian roast pork this weekend now that the weather has turned cooler. I get all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about carrying on the tradition in my own home…making this meal for my own kids someday. It just makes me smile. I was nervous getting started….how could it possibly be as good as Mom’s? I am pleased to say that my first attempt was a SUCCESS! Hooray!! Thanks, Mom, for sharing this recipe with me. 🙂
MOM’S BOHEMIAN ROAST PORK WITH GRAVY (Recipe Source: My mom, Nadine M.)
**Note**: All measurements are approximate…like all fabulous Mom super chefs out there, my mom didn’t provide exact measurements…she don’t need ’em. She just knows! 🙂
- 1 2-3 lb. pork loin roast (I used a sirloin roast, it comes tied together with twine)
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 tbs. minced onion flakes
- caraway seeds
- 2 strips of bacon
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour water into the bottom of roasting pan and add extra salt and onion flakes. Place roast on a rack in the pan, sprinkle liberally with caraway seeds. Lay strips of bacon over the top.
- Roast until well done. Discard bacon. Approximately 1 1/2 hours. Let roast sit for 10 minutes before carving.
- While the roast sits, use pan drippings to make gravy. Add a little bit of butter to the pan if there appears to be too little fat. (I did not think I needed to to do this this time around.) Add 4 to 5 tbs. of flour, stir. Add water, stirring constantly until thickened. If the gravy looks too pale, add a bit of beef bullion granules. (I didn’t need to do this either…my came out nice and brown!)
- Serve with bread dumplings (recipe follows) and gravy spooned all over EVERYTHING! YUM!
Now, you must serve this roast with the traditional white bread dumplings. It’s a must! Back home in the Chicago area, my mom just buys them frozen in the grocery store….like waffles! HA! Well….not a huge surprise that Eastern European convenience foods are not readily available in grocery stores in Iowa. (Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized that too…what is this, BIZARRO WORLD? LOL!) So, I had to tackle my own.
These were okay….a little too dense. The frozen ones are light and fluffy. These were missing that for sure. They tasted good, but the texture was a bit off. I’m not sure how to fix it…I’ll have to play around with it next time. Or maybe search out a different recipe. The dough was pretty sticky to work with…I had to add extra flour to get the logs to form. Maybe that’s what did it.
Why, oh why can’t I just buy them?? Oh, that’s right….we live in the middle of nowhere, that’s why!
BOHEMIAN DUMPLINGS (Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra as needed)
- 6 slices white bread, cubed
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and flour to make a batter. Mix in the bread cubes using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3-inches long.
- Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a fast boil. Add the dumplings, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the dumplings from the water and let drain. Slice and serve while very hot.