800 g beef tenderloin
60 g dried ceps
1 big onion, peeled, washed and very finely chopped
¼ celery root (about 150 g), peeled, washed and sliced into julienne
½ large carrot (about 100 g), peeled, washed and sliced into julienne
100 g raw, non salted pork’s back fat, cut into 8 strips of 4 cm long (optional)
8 thin slices bacon
6 grains black pepper
3 grains allspice
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons goose grease
200 ml crème fraiche
Start by preparing the mushroom filling:
In 600 ml of water, soak mushrooms for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Then cook the ceps in this same water, until soft, between 20 and 30 minutes.
Strain the mushrooms and let them cool down.
Reserve the mushroom broth.
Reserve 2-3 ceps caps for the sauce, chop the rest finely.
Cut the meat across fibers into 8 equal slices.
On a cutting board, place each slice of meat between two layers of plastic film and beat the meat delicately with a meat hammer. The meat should be around 5 mm thick.
Place the meat into the fridge.
In a hot frying pan, melt butter.
Add onions, fry over medium heat until gold.
Do not let onions burn.
Add chopped ceps.
Add salt and pepper to taste, cook for one or two more minutes.
Divide the filling into 8 equal portions.
Remove the meat from the fridge.
Place a slice of meat on the cutting board or on a plate.
Salt and pepper, then place in the middle of the meat one portion of mushroom stuffing, and a piece of pork back fat, should you decide to use it, and then roll the meat.
Wrap a slice of bacon around of each roll, and tie each roll tightly with a piece of cotton string.
Zrazy should not be huge – the perfect size is 8 cm long and 4 cm wide.
In a hot frying pan, melt the goose grease.
Place meat rolls and fry them equally on each side until bacon gets a golden colour.
In the meantime, prepare a large, not too deep, saucepan.
Place sliced carrot, celery and remaining mushrooms caps. Add bay leaves, grains of pepper and all spice and 400 ml of mushroom broth.
Bring to a boil and add the meat rolls in the saucepan.
Cover with a lid and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the meat gets soft.
Flip the meat rolls occasionally so they cook evenly.
If necessary, add a bit of the remaining mushroom broth.
Once the meat rolls are cooked, remove them from the saucepan and place them on a warm plate. Cover and do not let them cool down.
Strain the sauce.
Reserve the mushroom caps, and throw away the vegetables.
Pour the sauce back into the saucepan; slowly add the cream, salt and pepper. Mix well. Should the sauce not look thick enough, add a bit of flour mixed with cold water, and then boil the sauce to cook the flour.
Add meat rolls into the sauce and cook everything for a couple of minutes, until the meat reaches the right temperature.
Zrazy taste best with buckwheat and beet puree, which I will present later.
However, they may be served with mashed or grilled potatoes as well.
This dish has very long tradition in Poland and there exist a lot of different recipes.
The dish itself probably came to Poland from Lithuania, a country which Poland was in political union with for ages. The name, however, has its origin in Polish language and means a “slice of beaten boneless meat”.
In general, beef for baking or even tenderloin cut in slices is used.
Some recipes use ground meat instead.
There are two types of Zrazy. One consists of slices of meat, beaten and cooked over law heat with onions and/or mushrooms. The other uses meat which is beaten at first, and then stuffed with various fillings. The latter, which I present here, is called “zawijane” which means, that the meat is rolled and tightened with thread.
Both types of Zrazy are firstly grilled on a frying pan until the meat becomes slightly gold, and then cooked in a broth. Usually crème fraiche is used to finish the sauce.
The most common filling for the Zrazy is a mixture of pork back fat, sour cucumber, bacon, mushrooms and sometimes vegetables like carrot and bell pepper.
My favorite version is prepared with dried ceps.
If you do not feel like eating pork back fat, you can omit it in your preparation. For the same reason, wrapping the meat in bacon is optional. I prefer the richer version of this dish. I do not eat Zrazy so often, so I sometimes can allow myself a little extra grease, which actually makes the dish much tastier!