Slovakia - Bryndzove Halusky
Potato dumplings with Bryndza cheese. I had to substitute because bryndza isn't all too common in the states, though it IS possible to find it if you look hard enough, especially in specialty European grocery stores.
This is the national dish of Slovakia, and you either love it or you hate it. For me, I think it’s alright. It’s a comfort dish for sure, but I can only handle so much of it in one sitting. I remember when I went to Slovakia about three years ago to visit family, it was the first meal I had that wasn’t cooked by family members. There are many restaurants in the several city plazas within Bratislava that not only caters to tourists, but have many of Slovakia’s most popular dishes that even locals would enjoy.
I would say, it’s Slovakia’s version of mac and cheese.
2 big potatoes, grated
2 cups flour
Salt, to taste
1 cup bryndza cheese, sub 1 cup feta, mixed with 1/4 cup sour cream, and 3 tbsp of milk
1 teaspoon bacon grease
Peel the potatoes, wash and grate them into a bowl. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible using either a paper towel or a cheese cloth. Next, add flour, salt, and the egg to a mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients.
Note: it may be a little sticky, but that’s totally okay, and normal.
Alternate method: you can boil the potatoes first and mash them before mixing in the rest of the dumpling ingredients. The texture of the dumplings will be slightly different.
Heat a big pot of water on high heat until it starts to boil. Add a generous amount of salt. When the water starts to boil, with a spoon, knife, or even fingers, get small pieces of the dumpling mixture, and toss them into the boiling water. They should be about the size of your standard gnocchi.
Boil for about 2-3 minutes. You’ll know when they are done when they start to float. Take the dumplings out with a slotted spoon and into a bowl.
Mix in the cheese until well incorporated. You can make the cheese creamier by adding in a little bit of heavy cream or milk.
If preparing bacon for the topping, mix in 1 teaspoon of the bacon grease into the cheese as well for more flavor.
Note: finding bryndza isn’t easy in the states, but you can use other soft cheese to substitute, the more common being feta. Mix feta, sour cream, and milk over low heat until smooth and creamy.
You can find this recipe, as well as other traditional dishes in my cookbook, My Slovak Kitchen.