This is a classic dish that has a strong affiliation to Czech cuisine, and reflects the long history we shared as peoples of one republic – the former Czechoslovakia. Despite living in two independent states now, the Czechs have remained faithful to our Halushki with Bryndza Cheese or traditional Slovak cheeses, and we, in turn, can’t live without their famed beer or ‘Vepřo, knedlo, zelo’, as Roast Pork with Steamed Dumpling & Red Cabbage is familiarly known in Czech. Or Moravian? It’s for our western neighbours to say.
It does take time to prepare the whole dish, but it’s a nice filling meal, well-suited for a Sunday lunch when all the family are at home, so they can give a helping hand.
Roast Pork with Steamed Dumpling & Red Cabbage
For the roast:
- 1 kg pork loin
- salt, black pepper, rosemary and mustard to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- fine flour to dust the gravy
For the steamed cabbage:
- 1 small red cabbage
- 1 teaspon caraway seeds
- salt, black pepper, ground cinnamon and cloves to taste
- 100 ml red wine
- 100 ml red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 small onion
- oil and water for braising
For the dumpling:
- 500 g flour (plain wheat can be combined with wholemeal in a desired ratio)
- 42 g fresh yeast*
- 300 ml warm milk
- a pinch of sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
*If you can’t get hold of fresh yeast in your country, use the dried or instant one (21 g fresh = 7 g instant), and follow the instructions on the packet.
- Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to stand at room temperature.
- To make the dumpling, follow the instructions for yeast-leavened dough here.
- While the dough is rising, wash and quarter the red cabbage. Shred it finely on a chopping board, discarding the hard core. Chop the onion and brown it lightly in a cooking pot with a little oil. Add the sugar and let caramelize. Throw in the cabbage and the caraway seeds. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat. Season with salt, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Add the red wine, stir well and let simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed.
- While the cabbage is cooking, rinse the pork under running water and pat it dry. Put in a roasting tin, rub the mustard onto the meat and sprinkle with the rosemary. Pour the oil over the meat and season with salt and black pepper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 230ºC. Place the pork in the oven and roast for 15 minutes to seal in the juices. Reduce the temperature to 180ºC, cover the roasting tin with a piece of tinfoil and continue cooking for another 1½ hour. Check the meat from time to time, and add more oil and water if needed.
- When the cabbage is tender (the leaves will be soft and sticky with the juices), pour in the red wine vinegar. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot covered on the cooker to keep warm.
- Check the dough, which has doubled in volume by now. Transfer it onto a floured surface and shape into two large dumplings. Dust your hands with flour if the dough feels sticky. Leave to stand for 15 – 20 minutes to allow the dumplings to rise.
- Meanwhile, prepare a steamer and fill it with water. Bring to the boil and put one of the dumplings in. Let it steam for 20 minutes, then take it out gently with a large wooden spatula, and transfer on a serving platter. Repeat the same with the other dumpling. You may notice the dumplings have increased their volume again during the steaming. Cover them with a clean dish-towel to keep warm.
- When the roast is tender and cooked through (you can check this by inserting a fork or a skewer in it), remove the tinfoil and increase the oven temperature to 250ºC. Make sure there is enough oil in the tin, and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes or until the meat gets a nice golden crust.
- Take the roast out and set aside on a platter to rest before carving.
- Bring the meat juices in the roasting tin to a simmer and dust with the flour. Pour in a little water if needed, and stir until well-combined. Cook for a couple of minutes until the gravy has thickened, then season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Slice the dumpling and carve the roast. Arrange on a plate with as much red cabbage as you like. Drizzle with the gravy and serve immediately.