Traditional Czech Easter stuffing was originally made with six types of meat: pork, mutton, rabbit, lamb, goat, and veal. When the meat from the veal head is used, the stuffing was called "little head." Sometimes even offal was added. If you happen to have a vegetarian guest attending your Easter meal, or you would just like to forgo the meat for other reasons, you can substitute the meat for more vegetables, like mushrooms.
An important part of the holiday, there are as many variations as there are cooks. The one thing they all have in common, though, is the use of spring herbs.
- 1 3/4 pounds/800 grams smoked pork (or a combination of smoked pork and pork shoulder)
- Salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of rosemary
- 11 rolls (cubed)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 cups spring greens (chives, parsley, young nettles, and dandelion greens, chopped)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter (for greasing)
Heat oven to 350 F/180 C.
In a large stockpot, place the smoked meat and add enough water to cover. Add salt and pepper, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaf, and rosemary to the water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
Let meat cool in the water, and then cut into cubes.
Dice the 11 rolls and put them in a larger bowl. Pour some of the meat-cooking broth over the cubes, as necessary, to soften.
Mix meat cubes with softened bread rolls, adjust salt and pepper, add the nutmeg, onion, garlic, and spring greens.
Separate the eggs and stir yolks into the meat mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the meat mixture.
Pour into a casserole dish or large loaf pan that has been greased with butter.
Bake until golden brown--about 1 hour. If the top is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
Let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and unmold if baked in a loaf pan and slice. Otherwise, scoop out of a casserole dish onto serving plates. Refrigerate leftovers to be reheated the next day.
Czech Foods Eaten During Holy Week
Throughout Holy Week, something special is cooked up every day in Czech kitchens. On White Saturday, Easter stuffing (nádivka) and sweet buns are baked.
On Easter Sunday, which is the culmination of Easter celebration, there were not only various pastries, Judas Buns, meals made of peas (pučálky), but also meat broth and roasted meat.
And, last but not least, sweet Easter lamb (beránek) cake (similar to Polish baranek) is served as dessert, replacing a real lamb that was for many families unaffordable. Easter Monday menu consisted mainly of egg dishes, symbolizing rebirth. Another Easter stuffing (nádivka) was baked.