It's been a while since I've done any cooking that didn't involve "punch holes in film, microwave for six minutes," but Saturday I finally broke my recent habit of eating all my weekend meals in bars and whipped something up. Czech-style, natch.
Miroslav Dvorak was a pretty good defenseman for the Flyers back in the 1980s. A few years back, I wrote to him to get the above photo signed (yes, yes, I'm a nerd), and he responded very graciously -- wrote a letter talking about what he was doing, encouraging me to visit the Czech Republic and drop by his business (a hotel/restaurant/sports complex, I think). When he passed away this past summer, I was pretty sad. So in his honor, and in the tradition of Bubla Vodka -- let's cook up some Czech meatloaf -- in Miro's memory.
This recipe is more-or-less taken from "The Czechoslovak Cookbook" by Joza Brizova, with some alterations based on personal preference and how much meat I'd bought.
Mix one pound ground beef and one pound ground pork together. You may have also bought ground veal, because you remembered the recipe wrong. Save that for something else. (if anyone has any suggestions on recipes involving one pound of ground veal, kindly e-mail me.)
Add salt, pepper, and two eggs. Stir.
About this time, fix yourself a vodka with limeade. This is called an "Anonymous L.P." in these parts, because Anonymous L.P. was the first to point out to me that vodka with limeade is really, really good.
Open the package of dinner rolls that you got about two days ago. Exclaim in disgust that several of them have mold already. Remove those and throw them away, vowing to move to a place where things don't get moldy in two days. You only need three rolls, anyway. Soak them in a cup of milk until they're good and sodden.
Squeeze the excess milk out of the rolls. This feels kind of gross -- try not to think about it. Tear them up, and throw them into the meat mixture.
Chop up about three strips of uncooked bacon. Put half of that into the meat mixture.
Take the onion that you've had sitting around for a while, note with relief that at least it isn't moldy, chop it. Fry it and the other half of the bacon.
You probably need another Anonymous L.P. about now.
Once the bacon and onion are good and fried, toss them into the mix. Stir it all up really well. Form into one big mass.
Melt half a cup of Crisco in a roasting pan. I use Crisco without any trans-fats, which means it's really good for you, right?
Place the meatloaf into the roasting pan. Roast it at 350 degrees for an hour and a half, occasionally opening it all up and dumping some beef stock on top. Drink a few A.L.P.s during this time.
Enjoy! Beer probably goes better with this dish than vodka. May I suggest Czechvar?
So there you go, the perfect way to start off the hockey season. I was going to do a NHL preview, complete with literary references and suggestions that Red Wings fans are of subpar intellect, but that's probably not going to happen. If you want hockey coverage, look over along the right side.