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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 .
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
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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