Tag: Slovakia

Legendary Dishes | Bryndzové Halušky (potato dumplings with cheese)

SLOVAKIA

To egg or not is the question good cooks ignore when making perfect potato dumplings (gnocchi in Italy). The addition of eggs is associated with Alsace and Piedmont where the technique aids the kneading process, but produces harder gnocchi. The Alsace version calls for larger pieces, shaped between two spoons. A ratio of 2:1 raw grated potatoes to cooked puréed potatoes is mixed with two eggs and sufficient flour to make a smooth paste. These gnocchi are seasoned with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. In Veneto expert gnocchi makers select potatoes that will not absorb too much flour and hold their shape while cooking. A 4:1 ratio of boiling potatoes to white flour should produce the light fluffy effect demanded by gnocchi aficionados but beware, there are some difficulties. Marcella Hazan gives one of the best descriptions for shaping Veneta gnocchi using the prongs of a fork. She recommends small gnocchi, 2.5 x 2 cm pieces, which are pressed against the inside prongs and flipped toward the handle of the fork.

‘When gnocchi are shaped in this manner,  the middle section is thinner and becomes more tender in cooking, while the ridges become grooves for the sauce to cling to.

In Slovakia, where they marry old potatoes to a tangy sheep‘s cheese called bryndza, the debate is also a matter of preference. The traditional method for making bryndzové halušky is without eggs and a high potato to flour ratio of 5 to 1. Then try eating bryndzové halušky with a 3 to 1 ratio made with egg, coated with grated cheese and sour cream, and served with more cream! A recipe for gnocchi is in the potato section.

500 g Agata / Agria / Bintje potatoes, cubed small, blended to a purée
300 g bryndza cheese, grated
250 g Oravská údená slanina / smoked bacon, cubed 
200 ml smetana / sour cream 
100 g white wheat flour, t550
1 egg
Salt, large pinch

In a large bowl work puréed potatoes, egg, flour and salt into a paste. Ideally you need an halušky pan, but anything with with round holes about 1 cm in diameter will do the job. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, push the paste through the holes, cook until the small dumplings rise to the surface, about eight minutes. Drain, retaining cooking liquid. Spoon 100 ml of the liquid into a bowl with the cheese, fork and whisk into a thin sauce. If desired mix half of the sour cream into the sauce. Fry the bacon until the fat runs, drain the fat and crisp bacon for three minutes, turning constantly. Arrange the halušky in a separate bowl, cover with cheese sauce, top with the bacon. Serve with cream.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Agata Potato | Agria Potato  | Bintje PotatoBryndza Cheese | Smoked Bacon | Soft Wheat

LEGENDARY DISHES


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Culinary Connections | Potato Dumplings

FRANCE ITALY LITHUANIA SLOVAKIA

To egg or not is the question good cooks ignore when making perfect potato dumplings or gnocchi as they are known in Italy and throughout the Mediterranean basin.

The addition of eggs is associated with Alsace and Piedmont where the technique aids the kneading process, but produces harder gnocchi.

The Alsace version calls for larger pieces, shaped between two spoons. A ratio of 2:1 raw grated potatoes to cooked puréed potatoes is mixed with two eggs and sufficient flour to make a smooth paste. These gnocchi are seasoned with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

In Veneto expert gnocchi makers select potatoes that will not absorb too much flour and hold their shape while cooking. A 4:1 ratio of boiling potatoes to white flour should produce the light fluffy effect demanded by gnocchi aficionados but beware, there are some difficulties.

Marcella Hazan gives one of the best descriptions for shaping Veneto gnocchi using the prongs of a fork. She recommends small gnocchi, 2.5 x 2 cm pieces, which are pressed against the inside prongs and flipped toward the handle of the fork. ‘When gnocchi are shaped in this manner, the middle section is thinner and becomes more tender in cooking, while the ridges become grooves for the sauce to cling to.’ In Slovakia, where they marry old potatoes to a tangy sheep’s cheese called bryndza, the debate is also a matter of preference. The traditional method for making bryndzové halušky is without eggs and a high potato to flour ratio of 5 to 1. Then try eating bryndzové halušky with a 3 to 1 ratio made with egg, coated with grated cheese and sour cream, and served with more cream!

Bryndzové Halušky (potato dumplings with sauce)

  • 500 g gria / Bintje / Desirée potatoes, peeled, grated to a purée
  • 300 g Bryndza / sheep’s cheese, grated
  • 250 g smoked bacon, cubed
  • 200 ml smetana / sour cream (optional)
  • 100 g flour
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Water, for boiling

In a large bowl work potatoes, flour and salt (and if using the egg) into a light dough until it comes away from the edges of the bowl. Rub or cut into small dumplings.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the dumplings, cook until they rise to the surface, about ten minutes.

Drain, retaining the cooking liquid.

Spoon 100 ml of the liquid into a bowl with the cheese, fork and whisk into a thin sauce.

If desired mix half of the sour cream into the cheese sauce.

Fry the bacon until the fat runs, drain the fat and crisp for three minutes, turning constantly.

Arrange the halušky in a bowl, cover with the bryndza sauce, top with the bacon.

Serve with remaining sour cream.


Maneghi (sweet potatoes)

  • 300 g sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed
  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 30 g Grana Padano, grated
  • 10 g cinnamon, ground
  • Water, for boiling

Combine the potatoes with the egg and flour, form into large gnocchi.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the dumplings, cook until they rise to the surface, about 20 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, fry the cinnamon for ten seconds, add sugar and grana.

Toss maneghi in the spicy-sweet butter.


Gnocchi (loose)

Gnocchi are not always dumplings, sometimes they are made like polenta.

  • 600 ml milk 
  • 120 g flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Butter, for greasing and spreading
  • Hard cheese, for sprinkling

Boil milk, add salt and flour in small amounts. Cook for ten minutes, until the mixture thickens. Add the egg, stirring constantly to prevent it cooking.

Pour the mixture onto a clean surface and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cut into squares 4 cm x 4 cm.

Grease a small baking tray, arrange a layer of squares, dotted with pieces of butter and sprinkled with cheese.

Repeat until the squares are used up, finish with butter and cheese.

Bake until a brown crust forms.


Gnocchi (sweet)

This is the sweet version.

  • 250 ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 30 g sugar
  • 30 g vanilla sugar
  • 15 g potato starch
  • Butter, for spreading

Combine ingredients in a heavy based saucepan, and bring the hear up slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.

Pour the mixture onto a clean surface and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut into squares 4 cm x 4 cm.

Grease a small baking tray, arrange a layer of squares, dotted with pieces of butter.

Repeat until the squares are used up, finish with butter.

Bake until a brown crust forms.


Gnocchi (with specialist potatoes0

Every Italian will tell you quietly that the secret to gnocchi is hidden in the choice of potato.

These would be the varieties of Agate, Agria, Amber, Arizona, Chopin, Finka, Marabel, Monalisa, Universa and Vivaldi grown in Viterbo, between Umbria and Tuscany.

The moderate Lake Bolsena climate and potassium-rich volcanic soils produce potatoes with a pasty consistency, ideal for preparing gnocchi.

That secret is out.

Since 1977 an annual Gnocchi Festival has been held in St. Lorenzo Nuovo.

  • 900 g Patata dell’Alto Viterbese potatoes, boiled whole in skins, cooled
  • 250 g flour
  • 10 g salt
  • Water, for boiling
  • Parmigiano / pecorino, grated fine, for dressing

Pass potatoes through a fine colander or potato masher.

Add half the salt salt.

On a clean surface combine potatoes with flour into a pasty dough.

Roll into a sausage 5 cm thick, cut into 2 cm slices.

Press each piece with the handle of a knife, to form a cup shape.

Bring a large saucepan with water and remaining salt to a rolling boil.

Add gnocchi in batches.

When they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve with a dressing of cheese.


Gnocchi di Castagne al Pesto (with potatoes and basil paste)

Also sweet but rich.

  • 700 g potatoes, baked, mashed
  • 100 g strong white flour
  • 100 g chestnut flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, pinch
  • White pepper, pinch

Pesto

  • 100 g basil leaves
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 40 g Parmigiano
  • 40 g pecorino
  • 30 g pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt, pinch

Combine potatoes, the two flours, egg and salt in a large bowl.

On a floured surface roll into a sausage 5 cm thick, cut into 2 cm slices.

Bring a large saucepan with salt and water to a rolling boil.

Add gnocchi in batches.

When they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl.

Toss in the pesto.


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Culinary Connections | Potato Pancakes

RUSSIA LITHUANIA SLOVAKIA

Kartofel’nyy Blin

This is the standard Russian version of the potato pancake, more like a fritter than a pancake.

  • 500 g floury potatoes, peeled, grated small, drained
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 2 eggs
  • 45 g flour
  • 45 ml kefir
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Oil, for frying.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly.

Using an oiled tablespoon transfer onto hot oil in a frying pan, cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, turn once.


Bulvinių Blynų / Bulviniai Blynai

This traditional Lithuanian version generally omits the flour and kefir, and uses less egg.

  • 500 g floury potatoes, peeled, grated small, drained
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 1 egg
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Oil, for frying

Combine potatoes, onions, egg and seasonings in a large bowl, mix thoroughly.

Fry a heaped tablespoon of the mixture over a high heat, about a minute.

Turn, fry for a minute, reduce heat to low.

Serve with sour cream.


Kėdainių Blynai

Named after the Lithuanian town on the Nevėžis river, this meat-filled potato pancake is a very old recipe, and still a popular dish.

  • 1 kg floury potatoes, peeled, grated small, drained
  • 300 g pork mince
  • 150 g onion, chopped small
  • 2 eggs
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, large pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Oil, for frying

Mix potatoes and onions with eggs and salt in a large bowl, set aside.

In a separate bowl combine meat and seasonings.

Begin to fry five heaped tablespoons of potato mixture in oil in a large frying pan over a high heat.

Top each potato pile with a level tablespoon of meat mixture.

Turn heat to medium.

Finish with another heaped tablespoon of potato mixture on top of the meat mixture, press down with a spatula.

Turn heat high, carefully turn pancakes, fry for two minutes, reduce heat to low.

Transfer to a tray, bake in a 140°C oven for ten minutes.

Serve with mushroom and sour cream sauce.


Zemiakové Placky

This is the aromatic Slovakian version.

  • 1 kg floury potatoes, peeled, grated small, drained
  • 180 g flour
  • 60 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g marjoram
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, large pinch
  • Oil, for frying

Mix potatoes and garlic with egg and salt  in a large bowl, work in flour and milk, season with marjoram and pepper, set aside.

Fry in small batches over medium heat until golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning once.


Legendary Dishes | Bratislavské Rožky | crescent bread

Recently given the stamp of approval by the European Union despite opposition from Austria, Germany and Hungary, the Bratislava sourdough-poppy seed / walnut paste crescent deserves recognition.

Pre-ferment

  • 30 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 g sugar
  • 15 g flour

Dough

  • 500 g flour
  • 150 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 45 ml oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Filling

  • 400 g poppy seeds, ground / walnuts, minced
  • 200 ml water / milk
  • 200 g sugar
  • 25 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Cinnamon, pinch Rum, splash

Dressing

  • 100 g icing sugar

Dissolve yeast in milk and sugar in a small bowl, stir in flour, cover and leave overnight.

Cut butter into small cubes and cream into the flour, add the salt, yeast mixture, eggs and sufficient oil to make a soft dough.

Knead for ten minutes, rest for an hour.

Cut into 25g pieces, shape into balls and leave to double in size, about an hour.

For the poppy filling, dissolve the sugar slowly in the water. Stir in poppy seeds, bringing the heat up. Incorporate vanilla sugar, then and lemon zest. Leave to cool.

For the walnut filling, dissolve the sugar slowly in the milk, bring to a gentle boil, add walnuts, then the vanilla sugar, cinnamon and rum.

Thicken with breadcrumbs if the paste is loose.

Roll the balls into thin ovals, place two teaspoons of filling in the central area, shape into a tube. Roll and twist into crescents.

Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with icing sugar.


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