Potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon (Bryndzové halušky) is considered the national dish of Slovakia. Potato ‘dumplings’ are covered with sheep cheese, similar to soft feta, and topped with a good dose of bacon and bacon drippings. Bryndzové halušky is a comforting combination of smooth dumplings, crispy bacon, and salty cheese. It’s very filling!
Dumplings, halušky (ha-loosh-key), are made of raw grated potatoes, flour, and egg. The dough is pressed through a contraption with holes so that the dough drops into the boiling water. A spaetzle maker will do the job (available on Amazon).
If you dont want to purchase a spaetzle maker, you can use a cutting board, hold it tilted above a pot of boiling water, and scrape off pieces of the dough into the water.
The taste of bryndza is similar to feta cheese. Most brands in the grocery store are now made from a combination of sheep and cow milk. Bryndza is available in specialty stores in North America, but if you can’t find it you can substitute it with feta and sour cream.
Halušky are normally made with wheat flour, but a general purpose gluten-free flour can be substituted successfully.
- 250 grams (9oz) bryndza more or less to taste
- 500 grams (18 oz) potatoes about 5 medium
- 200 grams (about 2 cups) all purpose flour or gluten-free flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 200 grams (7oz) bacon
- chopped chives or parsley optional garnish
- feta cheese
- cream cheese or sour cream
- 1/2 c butter
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, grate raw potatoes on the fine holes. Add flour, egg, and salt and mix.
Use a halušky maker, or spaetzle maker, to drop the dough into the boiling water.
If you don’t have either, you can put the dough on a cutting board and use a knife to cut off small chunks into the water. Do in batches so there isn’t too many dumplings in the water.
When haluškyy are floating, use a slotted spoon to fish out.
Chop bacon and fry until crispy.
If making bryndza alternative, blend ingredients until smooth. You can make it as strong or mild to suite your taste – more feta will make it stronger, sour cream will make it milder; cream cheese will be thicker, sour cream thinner. To start with, try half a cup of each feta and sour cream and 1½ tbsp butter.
Heap up dumplings, put bryndza on top (it melts as it warms up), add sprinkle generously with bacon and optional chopped chives or parsley.I also add 1/4 c milk sometimes depending how strong bryndza’s flavor is. The milk will make it milder.