Chlebíčky are open-faced sandwiches served in the Czech Republic. The sandwiches include meat, cheese and vegetables and are meant to be eaten in a few small bites. Think of them as an appetizer, often served with wine or beer.
Czech hospitality is like a warm hug from your Babicka, or Grandma. While visiting the Czech Republic and visiting my ancestors villages, we were almost always asked to enter their home and enjoy a treat, be it Chlebíčky, pastry, dandelion tea, or even a little sip (or two) of Slivovice.
Our Colorado Czech/Slovak/Rusyn Genealogy Group used to gather once a quarter (before COVID), often sharing Czech treats. I made Chlebíčky for one of our potlucks, using recipes from Czechcookbook.com. They are easy to make and you can customize the ingredients to your liking. I’ve included links at the bottom to the recipes as well as a link to more information on the history of these delightful bites!
Czech Spread (vlašský salát) (Recipe follows)
thinly sliced ham
thinly sliced cheese (baby swiss)
hardboiled eggs, sliced
dill pickles, sliced
bell peppers, cut into strips
cheese for grating
Czech Spread – Vlašský salát
3 small potatoes (13 oz.)
10 mini carrots or 2 medium (4-5oz)
2 pickles (preferably dill pickles)
1 tsp pickle juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
little bit pepper
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/3 cup canned peas
4 oz. bologna or ham
1 cup mayo
Open-Faced Sandwiches – Chlebíčky
Sungold cherry tomatoes have become our family’s favorite tomatoes, eating them off the wine as a treat. They are so sweet and incredibly delicious. Just perfect for Cherry Tomato Jam.
Each year I seem to have an abundance of tomatoes, making salads with them, roasting them with peppers and garlic and much more. Tomato Jam recipes were popping up this year and I decided to try it. It’s so easy and delicious. I haven’t tried to can it because it disappears from the frig long before the expiration date. Serve it on a crusty bread or on top of a soft cheese. I also made a Grilled Cheese with a schmeer of tomato jam. YUMMO!
CHERRY TOMATO JAM
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
32 ounces (2 lbs.) cherry tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pints)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large spring thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel or non-reactive pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until softened.
- Add the chili powder and smoked paprika and sauté 30 seconds more.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until the tomatoes burst and thicken, for about 10-15 minutes. If at any time the pan becomes dry and the tomatoes begin to burn, add a tablespoon or two more of water and reduce the heat a bit more.
- Remove from heat and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 10-14 days.
I know Runzas are a staple to my Nebraska and Kansas friends but not something we grew up with in Iowa. A few years ago I was watching the television show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where they visit Lauer-Krauts in Brighton, Colorado. A friend and I made the trek to Brighton to try one of their krautburgers and they were delicious, but frankly, too far a drive when you have a craving.
This recipe was close to what we experienced and I decided to give it a try. It was very good and I would love to try making them with either a mixture of fresh cabbage and sauerkraut or simply with sauerkraut. Growing up in Iowa, Mom’s homemade sauerkraut was amazing and I now love all things kraut!
Makes 10 Runzas
1/4 oz packet of dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups bread flour
12 tablespoons salted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons salted butter
1 Vidalia onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
- To make the dough, combine 3/4 cup of very warm water, a pinch of sugar, and the yeast in a bowl. Let it sit until it blooms. If you’ve never done this before, pop yourself some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show. You’ll know what I mean when the “blooming” begins. Okay, maybe it’s not that cool…
- Add 3 of your eggs and whisk with your yeast mixture. Add 2 cups of your flour to the liquid and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the butter, the sugar, the remaining flour and salt and mix well.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place the dough ball in a buttered bowl and let sit for one hour at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour.
- Remove the dough and divide into 10 equal portions. Roll into separate balls and let sit covered while you make the filling.
- Speaking of the filling, get your ground beef sizzlin’ on a skillet. Season as desired with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, then remove the beef from the skillet with a spoon and place it in a bowl, leaving most of the grease behind. Add your butter to the skillet and begin sizzlin’ your onion. Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes or so. Add your garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add this whole mixture to the bowl with the beef.
- Next, using the moisture still in your skillet, get the pan nice and hot. Add your cabbage and stir constantly until the cabbage is lightly browned and translucent-ish. It may seem like a lot of cabbage at first, but it shrinks down substantially. Add the cabbage to the beef mixture.
- Flatten your balls of dough with a rolling pin. Each dough saucer should be about 8 inches in diameter. Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of filling in the center of each dough-saucer and pull the edges together and pinch to enclose the filling in the dough. To avoid a thickened dough-seal, I actually cut off the excess dough with cooking shears. If you don’t do something like this, you’ll find a doughy center as you take your first chomp.
- Preheat the oven to 375° while the runzas sit and rise for a bit. Brush some of the egg (your remaining egg of the 4 you originally had) on the top of each runza to give it a nice browning while in the oven. Cook the runzas on a greased baking sheet for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
I love a good sandwich and when I spotted the word BRIE, I was sold. I’m a sucker for wonderful cheeses and I decided it was worth the gluten treat to try it. It was a wonderful sandwich although, as always, I wondered what it would be like if I added a nice jam to it. Next time…I’m adding a raspberry jam…mmmm, can’t wait!
GRILLED APPLE AND BRIE SANDWICH
2 slices whole wheat (or whole grain) bread
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/3 cup thinly sliced brie
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush 1 side of each slice of bread with olive oil. Place 1 slice of bread, olive oil-side down, into skillet. Arrange apple slices evenly over bread.
- Layer with cheese and top with remaining slice of bread, olive oil side up. Cook, until bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Recipe from Colorado Classique Cookbook
Sunday Night meals, on the farm, were typically sandwiches enjoyed on TV trays in front of the TV watching Lassie, Ed Sullivan, and Bonanza. It was the only night of the week we ate outside of the kitchen but it was a treat. Often the sandwiches were a result of leftovers from the tremendous Sunday Dinner (noon meal) my Mother would make of Roast Beef, Roast Chicken, Pork Roast, Ham, etc. She would often grind the leftover meat on her Universal Meat Grinder and add onion, pickle, mayonnaise.
Ham Salad is still a favorite and I make it rarely but since it was a Sunday and I was reliving the Sunday Night Farm experience…I ate a Ham Salad Sandwich in front of the TV (sans TV tray) watching 60 minutes instead of Lassie. Oh, sweet memories!
OLD FASHIONED HAM SALAD
2 cups ground ham (I chopped mine in the food processor)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup dill pickle relish (or sweet relish)
1 teaspoon mustard
2 chopped, hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Combine all well. Serve on good bread or roll and enjoy!
My go-to quick-lunch or dinner in the summer is tuna salad. It’s simple, full of protein and wonderful paired with a fresh tomato or avocado. The tuna salad is made the way my Mother made it. The tomato and avocado serving vessel wasn’t used on the farm…just straight up on Wonder Bread!
To serve in a tomato: Wash the tomato and slice off the top stem of the tomato. Slice the tomato in the middle, but not entirely through the tomato. Slice 2 more times to where, when opened, the tomato is shaped like a sunburst.
Several years ago, I became excited when served tuna salad in a half of an avocado. I peel the ripe avocado, removing the pit, putting a scoop of tuna salad inside the avocado to serve. Double yum!
- For every can of tuna, drain, and flake the tuna in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add two boiled eggs, chopped for every can of tuna.
- Add chopped dill pickle (or dill pickle relish) to taste.
- Add 2-3 chopped green onions.
- Stir in a enough mayonnaise to bind the tuna salad together. (I’ve used plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise).
- Salt to taste.