Bratislava, Slovakia – Every month, Kafkadesk brings you the best recipes from Central Europe, straight from the kitchen of our very own Chef Paulina Kotkowska. What’s on the menu today? The recipe of her yummy Brynzové halušky, the Slovak sheep cheese “gnocchi”.
Ask a Slovak what their country’s national dish is, and they will inevitably answer “Brynzové halušky”. Brynzové halušky was developed by Slovakia’s early farmers from their farmed potatoes and homemade cheese. They are made from a dough of mixed wheat flour and grated raw potatoes (halusky) boiled in water like pasta.
They are then brightened up with the main ingredient, bryndza, a fresh and soft Slovak sheep cheese – before being topped with some fried bacon… The result is a mix of soft dumplings, crispy bacon and salty cheese. Fresh, consistent and incredibly tasty!
Yields: 6 servings
Preparation time: 45 min
– 6 medium floury potatoes (Russet, Bintje…)
– 3 cups wheat flour
– 3 tsp salt
– 400 g bryndza (or another soft cheese like cottage or goat cheese)
– 450 g slab bacon
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Mix the wheat flour and salt. Grate the potatoes. Put a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut the slab bacon into small cubes and cook in a skillet at medium-high heat.
While the bacon is cooking, add salt and flour mix into the grated potatoes, a little at a time, in order to make halusky. The dough should be thick and sticky.
Divide the dough into several small rolls and transfer them to a damp cutting board. Cut small dumplings (1×2 cm) and put them directly into the boiling water. You can test at first a teaspoon full in boiling water, it should stick together. If it falls apart, add more flour to the dough.
Cook several halušky dumplings at the same time until they float to the top. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place into a colander to drain. Repeat until all the dough is cooked and, at the end, drain for about 3 minutes all of the dumplings at once.
By this time, your bacon should be done. In a large bowl, mix the cheese with the dumplings. Add the extra virgin olive oil. Transfer into plates and add the fried bacon on top.
You can mix bryndza cheese with a little bit of cream to make a much creamier sauce.
For a vegetarian option, remove the fried bacon and be creative! Halušky can be topped with just about anything, so don’t be afraid to try new combinations!
In Slovakia, brynzové halušky can sometimes be served with Žinčica, a drink made of fermented sheep milk similar to kefir.
You can visit the other recipes we’ve published: Liptauer, the Hungarian cheese spread; Chłodnik, the Eastern gazpacho; Pierogi ruskie, the Polish delight; and Lečo, the traditional Central European tomato-based stew.