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   This is traditional Polish beef dish. I recommend to
   prepare it in the evening, do first heating, go to bed, and
   finish on the day after. Meat needs to be hammered
   thoroughly. The dish is time consuming, but all your guests will
   pronounce you the king of the cooks! My serving suggestion: Put
   some buckwheat cereals on 1/3 of the plate, 2 to 3 bitkas
   on next 1/3 of the plate, and pour some sauce over the
   cereals. Leave last 1/3 of the plate free for the vegetable
   salad of any kind. I like sour cabbage combined with carrots
   and apples. The meat just melts in your mouth, and you
   will hear the quiet sighs of contentment around the table.
   Suddenly all guests stop talking and they START EATING. The
   dish is rather spicy, (I do it medium, our kids are 10 and
   8), but it leaves a very light sweetish taste afterwards
   on your tongue. The dish goes perfectly with cold beer,
   preferably lager. The kids get peach juice. Prep Time: approx. 30
   Minutes. Cook Time: approx. 9 Hours . Makes 6 to 8 servings .


2 pounds round steak, cut
   into thin strips on the diagonal
2 onions, cut into 1/3-inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
4 cups water
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 dried shitake mushrooms
4 prunes prunes, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, halved


1 Cut the beef into slices about 1/3 inch thick. With a
   meat mallet, hammer all the slices flat until they are 1/3
   of their original thickness. Sprinkle each slice
   generously with salt, pepper, and paprika on one side only. Put 2
   or 3 beef slices on a plate, with seasoning side up, and
   put some onion slices on top. Add layers of beef and onion
   until all the meat is out. Wrap the plate with plastic wrap
   or foil; set aside for one hour at room temperature, or
   overnight in the refrigerator.
2 Pour water into a Dutch oven, and bring to a boil.
   Reduce heat to simmer, and add bay leaves.
3 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) .
4 Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high
   heat. Separate onions from bitkas. Reserve half of the
   onions, and discard the rest. Fry bitkas 3 at a time for 20
   seconds on each side. Transfer fried meat into boiling water.
5 Chop the reserved onion coarsely. Saute in the beef
   drippings over medium heat. Drain, reserving drippings, and add
   onions along with mushrooms, prunes, honey and garlic to the
   meat. Skim fat from drippings, and add to the meat.
6 Transfer the pot to the oven. Roast for one hour at 350
   degrees F (175 degrees C). Turn the heat off, and then let
   the pot cool down slowly in the oven for approximately 2
   hours. Repeat the heating cycle 3 times. After 20 minutes in
   the oven take the pot out, and fish out the mushrooms; cut
   into 1/8 inch wide stripes, and return to the pot. During
   heating, take the pot out every 20 minutes and rearrange the
   bitkas. Check that nothing sticks to the bottom; normally
   nothing does. Check water level. If necessary, add some
   boiling water. Usually I have to add about 1/2 cup boiling
   water in the beginning of each heating cycle. During last
   heating cycle, check the sauce taste. Season to taste.

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