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This is the final, and probably the most peculiar dish in our Czech series: thoroughly cooked stuffed cucumbers. I found this in several cookbooks on Czech cuisine, so it most likely is traditionally Czech. As usual, I make a few additions to the recipe, but nothing drastic to detract much from its classic taste.
Attempt this only if you are adventurous, and do not own a conservative palate. The taste of cooked cucumber is quite bland, and my 2 "guinea pigs" did not like it for that reason. However, I find that the neutral taste of the cucumber and its incredible juiciness complement the strong flavor of seasoned veal and bacon very well.
Dare to try?...

What you need:
1/2 lb ground veal
1 egg
1 small yellow onion
salt to taste, but don't be stingy
2 pinches ground black pepper
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch chili powder (optional)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
3 medium cucumbers
5 bacon slices
2 bay leaves

How to do it:
Saute the ground veal and finely chopped onion in butter. Make sure to use a large enough pan so that the meat and onion is not crowded (otherwise, you might end up boiling the meat in its own juice). As you saute, break up larger chunks of the ground meat with a wooden spoon so that there are no big clumps in the filling. When the meat is tender and the onions nice and golden (about 15 minutes), add seasonings (salt, black & white pepper, nutmeg, chili powder) and let cook for 1 more minute.

Turn the heat off and let the meat cool, until warm but not hot to the touch. To expedite this process, you may transfer the meat into a cool bowl. Once cooled, add egg and bread crumbs and mix thoroughly.

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and liberally clean out the middle, where meat will go. Fill this hollow with the meat filling.

Fry chopped bacon on high heat on a non-stick skillet large enough to accomodate all cucumber halves in one layer. When the bacon is beginning to brown, lower the heat to medium, arrange the bacon evenly over the surface, place 2 bay leaves over it, and arrange cucumber halves on top, flat side down. Pour in 1/3 cup water, cover, and let cook for 25 minutes.

When taking the cucumbers out of the skillet, take care to support the bottom with a wide turner so that the meat does not slide out. Serve with finely chopped dill or parsley, and enjoy!

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Tags:    appetizer cucumbers Czech international meat veal
Summary: a appetizer recipe
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