All hail the Drowned Man......
We always return from our trips having learned a little something....about ourselves, our tastes, there's always a new wrinkle. While in the Czech Republic, we fell in love with this "hospoda" (pub/tavern) specialty; Utopenci, literally "drowned man". There's just something about these tart-sour-porky sausages that really refresh when you have it with a cold one.
Why "drowned man"...well, we heard two stories, typical of the rather dark, ironic, humor we found in the Czech Republic,....the "Czech twist" we call it. The first is that the inventor of this dish, a pub owner, got drunk one night and drowned to death, hence the "drowned man". The second story is that these pickled tubular meat items look like drowned bodies bobbing around in the jar......
We tried Utopenci wherever we saw them on the menu in the Czech Republic and even bought a couple from markets when we went shopping. The Missus could be heard exclaiming "I really am craving a drowned man...." in the airport....luckily, we were in Prague so other than the tourists, everyone else knew what She was talking about.... I think.
These are knackwursts from Tip Top Meats, smoked forcemeat type sausages. If you buy an uncooked sausage, you can heat them in the pickling liquid before bottling.
Couple of key points, it is important to make that slice two-thirds of the way through. It ensures that the sausage absorbs all of that pickling goodness. Second, as with the Pickled Onion recipe, this is a "starter" type deal. Make adjustments to your taste, this uses a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to water...add celery, chilies, garlic....smoked pork!
Main thing is that those little "men" floating around in your fridge hit the spot......
Utopenci - The Drowned Man:
3/4 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Whole Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Whole Allspice Berries
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 Onion sliced 1
1/2 lb Smoked Sausage - kielbasa/smoked knackwurst, or whatever sausage tickles your fancy.
- Add bay leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in peppercorns and allspice
- Once liquid cools slice sausage 2/3 way through - if using kielbasa cut down to size first.
- Place a slice of onion in sliced part of sausage. Place a couple of slices of onion at the bottom of a sterilized jar.
- Pack sausages in the jar
- Cover with liquid, seal jar and leave 5-7 days before eating.
There you've a set of drowned men you can call your own!