Just a few national foods are as easy to make and adapt as Slovakian dumplings with bryndza, better known under the original Slovak name ‘bryndzove halusky’. The meal is easy to adapt to your family needs and budget. Slovakian dumplings do not have to be mixed with bryndza at all. Molten cheese, cottage cheese, acid cabbage and many other ingredients will make your meal delicious as well.
Here is what you need to make 3 portions of bryndzove halusky:
- 10-12 smaller or medium sized potatoes
- Flour and salt
- 250g of bryndza and up to 180g of molten cheese from the tube
- Bacon and (or) sausage
The ingredients I used can be seen in the photo below:
1) Good idea is to start by filling a large pot with water (approximately to ¾). Turn on the cooker so the water will boil in some 20-30 minutes. Skin the potatoes as soon as you are finished and turn them into a mush. This might take a while and could be quite painful in case you are using the manual shredder as I do.
2) Add a bit of salt into the mush. Approximately ½ of teaspoon is enough. Less salt will not harm the meal. Now it is important to add enough flour and mix it with potato mush. Too little would cause your dumplings to dissolve in water. The paste should be fairly consistent, enough for the spoon to keep standing if stuck in the middle. I used 12 or 13 over the top spoons of flour for the 12 potatoes in the picture. Though, do not use it as a rule. If the mush is dry, less flour will be enough (and you will need more potatoes). Consistence of the paste is important, not the amount of flour added.
3) The water should be boiling by now. So, it is time to let the dumplings boil. The best way to make your dumplings the right size is to use the special tool visible in the photo below. Actually any ware with a bit larger holes in its bottom will do. Simply put the paste into it and shove it through the holes using spoon or scoop. Another possibility is to use some kind of board and knife to shove your dumplings into the water. However, this will take some practice and much more time as the dumplings should be rather small, smaller than the ones you make for soups.
4) As you add dumplings, water will most likely stop boiling for a few moments. This is a good time to cut the bacon into smaller cubes and start making the lards. They are best when they are fresh. On the other hand, sausage can be cooked and roasted in advance.
Keep an eye on the pot though. The foam is likely to form as the water starts boiling again and it could splash all over your cooker, if you do not blow some cooler air at it. Do not forget to note when the water started to boil. The dumplings will be done in just a few minutes. If your paste was consistent enough, the dumplings will not dissolve. You can leave them boiling for up to 5 minutes. Then taste one to determine whether they really are cooked. They should be though.
5) Strain the dumplings to get rid of the gluey water and put them back into the pot or use a smaller one depending on the amount of dumplings. Your meal is nearly finished now. All it needs is to add the bryndza and molten cheese and mix it thoroughly. You can also add a bit of butter – it should melt down. So, mix the dumplings until there are no aggregations of bryndza or cheese. Of course, you do not have to look for bryndza if it is not available in your country (as it is registered Slovakian commodity). The molten cheese alone makes this meal a great experience. Acid (pickled) cabbage and cottage cheese also make up for rather cheap and tasty alternative. You can even mix them with scrambled eggs, although I do not recommend that. Anyway, salt the mix according to your tastes and the Slovakian dumplings with bryndza (or anything else) are ready to be eaten.
Finally, you can eat your lunch or supper. Slovakian dumplings with bryndza taste great topped with bacon lards and pieces of roasted sausage. However, many people enjoy them with a little bit of cream mixed in as well. The meal can be adapted to fit a tight budget too.
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