Monday, September 2, 2013
Slovak Haluski - Czech Potato Dumplings and Cabbage Dish
As a 19 year old boy my husband moved to the Czech Republic where he lived for two years as a missionary. Yup, he was a Mormon missionary knocking on doors in former communist block housing. He spent a lot of time teaching English classes and helping people out as well. If you have ever met a former LDS/Mormon missionary then you know that they have a deep seeded love for wherever they spent their 2 years. The food in particular becomes a part of them. The one dish that my husband absolutely loves from his Prague days is called Haluski. Think gnocchi meets potato dumpling with cheese and bacon. It is comfort food and it is delicious. I love it because it involves sauteed cabbage and onions which I find to be an incredibly delicious way to eat cabbage. It is so popular that they actually manufacture haluski makers to quickly disperse your dumpling dough into the boiling water. In the Czech Republic they would either use the haluski maker or chop the dough directly from a cutting board into the water which is easy if you practice a lot. However, I just shape mine like I would gnocchi which proves much easier for me and probably a lot easier for you too. I'm sure you are much better at rolling "dough snakes" and cutting them than doing freestyle advanced cutting techniques. It isn't a pretty food. There are no vibrant or stunning colors. But it is pretty much an equivalent of mac and cheese and when is that ever pretty? You'll just have to trust me that this is absolutely delicious.
2 large potatoes, peeled
3+ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 head cabbage, roughly chopped
1 onion, halved and sliced
salt and pepper
8 oz pancetta
5 oz plain goat cheese, crumbled
1. Make your dough by grating your potatoes on the smallest shredding option on your cheese grater. Squeeze the excess water out and put the shreddings into a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, and milk until a dough forms, adding more flour if necessary to achieve a workable consistency. Divide the dough into 6 sections. On a flour dusted surface, roll out each dough section into a long rope or snake. Slice the snakes into 1/4 inch wide "pillows" or dough ball sections. Set aside the cut dumplings until ready to cook.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once melted, increase the heat to medium high and saute the onions and cabbage in the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add in the pancetta and saute for another 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches boil the potato dumplings for 3 minutes each batch. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. The cooked dumplings can be combined directly with the cooked cabbage mixture.
4. Spread the crumbled goat cheese throughout the dumpling/cabbage combo. It will melt into a nice sauce as it is stirred through. Serve hot.
***In Poland they make haluski with egg noodles instead of the potato dumplings. I've had it both ways and I can vouch for the Slovaki version of potato dumplings as being far superior.