Svíčková Recipe – Braised Beef with Bread Dumplings

Svíčková Recipe – Braised Beef with Bread Dumplings

Earlier last month I joined Eating Prague Tours (read my review here) on one of the most delicious food tours I have ever had to pleasure to experience. One of the stops on tour was at one of my favorite places for coffee and a slice of cake, Cafe Louvre although on this occasion it wasn’t cake I was indulging in.

Known as one of the most traditional of Czech dishes, “Svíčková” (pronounced sveech-covah) is a mouth-watering beef and sauce dish that has now become one of my favorite national dishes. Infact I liked it so much I even attempted to make it myself. Although it is not the most complicated dish in the world it does take time and is best when the meat and marinate is prepared a day in advance…

If you are looking to impress friends or family with a Czech dish than this Svíčková recipe is one you should definitely give a go!

Recipe for Svíčková: Braised Beef

ingredients for Svíčková recipe

Picture credit to Eating Prague Tours


  • 1.5 lb (680 g) beef sirloin (or round rump) 
  • 2 oz (55 g) bacon fat
  • 1 cup (235 ml) beef or vegetable stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 7 oz (200 g) root of celery (1 medium root), diced
  • 1 medium parsley root, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) butter, melted 
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 2 bay leafs 
  • juice from 1 lemon or 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream (plus some milk)
  • all-purpose flour if needed 
  • sugar if needed

Step 1: Prick the meat with a large knife and stuff the Bacon fat in small chunks through the meat before seasoning with salt and pepper
Step 2: Slice the vegetables into small cubes and place both the meat and vegetables into a large pan
Step 3: Add the lemon juice and vinegar to the pan
Step 4: Melt the butter and pour over the meat to seal it.
Step 5: Cover with clingfilm and let it marinate in a fridge overnight.

marinade for Svickova

Picture credit to Eating Prague Tours

Step 6: Dissolve the stock cube in 235ml of water and pour into the pan
Step 7: Cover with a lid and braise in the oven at 320 °F (160 °C) until the meat is very soft – you should be able to cut it with a fork. This usually takes 2-4 hours.
Step 8: Once cooked remove the meat
Step 9: Press the vegetables through a fine sieve or use a hand blender for ease.
Step 10: Once blended add the cream and bring to boil over the hob
Step 11: Add salt, lemon, vinegar or sugar to taste – If the sauce is not thick enough, thicken it with a little flour
Step 12: Cut the sirloin into half-inch thick circles; put these back into sauce to heat them through.
Step 13: Serve with cranberry preserve.

Traditionally this recipe is served with Bread Dumplings which can be purchased in supermarkets or home-made using the below recipe…

Recipe for bread dumplings

  • 2 pinches of salt
  • ½ tsp ground mace (and a bit of turmeric if you want to have a tasty-looking yellow tint to the dumplings; the flavor is good too)
  • 4 cups (950g) all purpose flour
  • Approx. 1 cup (235 ml) lukewarm  milk  (more if the dough is dry)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 rolls or buns (the traditional sized ones, they’re about 70g each)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cube fresh yeast (or the dried yeast equivalent)

Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
Step 2: In a separate medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and milk.
Step 3: Pour into bowl with flour. Work the dough with your hands or by machine using the dough hook until it no longer sticks to the bowl.
Step 4: Cover ad let stand 1 hour.
Step 5: Put a large stockpot or pan of salted water on to boil.
Step 6: Work the bread cut into cubes into the batter until well incorporated.
Step 7: Using floured hands, shape the dough into three or four rolls that are about 8 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.
Step 8: When the water is boiling, carefully slip the rolls into the water, giving them a stir so they don’t stick. Reduce heat, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 9: Using a slotted spoon, remove one dumpling from the pot after 10 minutes and test for “doneness” by cutting through the middle of the dumpling with a thread or thin knife. If it is done, remove the dumplings one by one and slice into 3/4-inch pieces again with a thread or sharp knife. Repeat until all dumplings are removed from the water and sliced.
Step 10: Serve warm with the Svíčková.

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