My half-Czech husband grew up eating fabulous home cooked Czech dishes like Weinerschnitzel and Kolache. Over the years, I’ve incorporated these amazing dishes into my cooking, including the family favorite, Knedliky and Zeli. Knedliky is a large dumpling that’s shaped into log and served sliced. I must say, the Knedliky has taken me years to perfect and has been by far the hardest part of the dish to create. I actually stumbled across my secret ingredient by chance. A while back, I was making the dumplings for a family gathering and had everything started with the yeast prepared when I noticed I was short 1 1/2 cups of flour. In my frantic search, the only thing I could find was a box of pancake mix. I figured, “What the heck, it contains flour,” so I swapped the 1 1/2 cups flour in my recipe with the pancake mix. To my surprise, I created the best Knedliky I had ever made! It was light, airy and better yet, looked like Knedliky prepared by other family members! These dumplings are delicious and nothing absorbs gravy like good ol’ Czech dumplings. In my years of making Knedliky, I have sometimes found it hard knead the dough as it get sticky or falls apart. If this happens to you, just add a little more flour until it’s easy to work or if it is too bulky, place it in your bread machine to knead.
Zeli is a cabbage mixture very similar to a seasoned sauerkraut and is commonly served with roast. It has its own unique flavor that can be really strong depending on your tastes and the type of sauerkraut you use. Personally, my family enjoys the tartness, so we’ll even add sauerkraut juice to the dish. On the other hand, my mother-in-law would rinse her sauerkraut before adding it to the rest of the cabbage mix for a milder Zeli. Whichever you prefer, the true delicious secret to the dish comes from the caraway seeds that are added. Their anise-like flavor brightens the dish and makes it perfect with meats.
Add an excellent pork roast to your homemade Knedliky and Zeli for a spectacular Czech feast! To serve, we like to have the sliced Knedliky on the plate with the Zeli then the meat layered over the top. Slather the entire thing with delicious pork gravy to really make the dish shine. My family and I love this amazing, authentic dish and hope you will too!
Pork Roast With Knedliky and Zeli (Czech Dumplings with Sauerkraut and Cabbage)
Pork Roast and Zeli
3-5 lb pork roast
1 1/2 cup water
1 package pork gravy mix
2 tablespoons caraway seeds (more if desired)
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
16-ounce can or jar of sauerkraut with juice
1/4 medium-sized onion, chopped
Add the roast, water, caraway seeds, gravy mix and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Halfway through, add the cabbage, sauerkraut and onion.
- 1 yeast packet
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 cup lukewarm milk, divided
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup complete buttermilk pancake mix
1-2 slices white bread, cubed into half-inch pieces, (French or regular white sandwich bread work great)
*For a large family, you can double the recipe.
To prepare the yeast, take a little of the flour (about 1 to 2 tablespoons), the 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and the yeast packet and stir into 1/2 cup lukewarm milk. Let the yeast mixture set for about 5 minutes, until it is bubbled and frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining milk with the egg, salt and the yeast mixture. Gradually add the remaining flour and pancake mix. Add the bread cubes. If needed, add more flour to the dough until you are able to knead it. Knead the dough 8 to 10 minutes until elastic in texture. Place in a greased bowl and turn once. Cover the bowl and let it rise until double in volume, about 1 to 2 hours.
To cook the dumplings, start a large pot of boiling water. Add plenty of salt (about 1 to 2 tablespoons).
Cut the dough into 2 to 3 equal pieces. Knead each one a few times and work into oblong shapes (may need to dust with flour).
Boil 2 at a time in the pot for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning several times. Test with toothpick for doneness, should come out clean. Allow the dumplings to cool slightly before slicing and serving with the pork roast and Zeli. You can freeze any leftover Knedliky and use it for a tasty breakfast another day; heat and serve with syrup or cut into cubes to scramble with sausage and eggs.
For convenience, I like to prepare a packet of pork gravy to go with the roast and Zeli and Knedliky. Enjoy!