How do you say ‘yum’ in Czech?
I don’t know what the proper pronunciation of houbový kuba is, but I know the stuff is borderline addictive. The traditional post-Christmas-fast meatless Czech dish is an aromatic mushroom barley risotto that’s inexpensive to make, yet rich in flavor. That’s why it’s a go-to dish for poorer families—and the springy barley makes kuba’s texture superior to most rice risottos. Make it by toasting 1 cup of barley in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden, then add 1 pound of fresh cremini mushrooms (or 1/2 cup soaked dried ones), 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock, salt and pepper, and cook for 45 minutes. In another pan, sauté two chopped onions and six cloves of garlic with 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds and 1 teaspoon of marjoram (oregano). Mix it with the mushrooms and barley, then bake it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. A knockout substitute for caraway seeds is nigella seeds, a.k.a. black caraway. For more details on this veganized recipe, see www.tresbohemes.com.