The name itself derives from the cut ‘svíčková’, which is sirloin of beef, but some people argue that other cuts can be used. Also it is debatable whether the sauce is ‘svíčková ‘ sauce or just cream sauce, without the presence of the right cut of beef. As if that isn’t enough, the same amount of dispute comes from the opinion whether the meat should be cooked separately or steamed alongside the vegetables, whether to add mustard, and whether to blend the sauce or push through a sieve. In short, there are as many recipes as there are people making the sauce of this traditional dish in Czech Republic.
Wash and pat the joint dry, remove any membranes and lace with bacon - season with salt and pepper. Peel and finely dice the onion, clean and grate the other vegetables. Put the vegetables into a roasting tin and place the joint on top, add the spices, sprinkle with lemon juice and pour over the melted butter. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for one day.
The following day, pour in a small amount of water and cook covered in the oven until tender. Remove the meat from the tin and set aside to rest, take out the spices from the vegetables, especially the bay leaves.
Place the roasting tin on the hob and bring the sauce slowly to the boil. Add the mustard, sprinkle in approximately 2 tablespoons of flour and simmer for a bit. Pour in the cream, let it simmer on low heat and stir occasionally. Season to taste, and add lemon juice or sugar according to your own preference. For a fuller flavour you can add a little caramel to the sauce (caramelize one tablespoon of sugar – when the sugar melts and turns brown add a little water and cook for a little bit).
Cut the meat with the grain, and place it back into the sauce and reheat. Serve with bread dumplings, garnished with a slice of lemon and cranberry jam.
Tip: Roast the vegetables for the sauce – some chefs swear by this, as the darker colour adds to the sauce. Try for yourselves, and see which one you prefer.