back to article Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bryndzové halušky

It's onwards and eastwards this week with our post-pub nosh neckfiller as we travel to Slovakia in search of bryndzové halušky. This traditional dish of potato dumplings (halušky) is topped with bryndza sheep cheese, and endears itself to British palates with the inclusion of bacon, the miracle powers of which to counter the …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Worth a try...

    I haven't had potato dumplings in years but I'll give this try tomorrow. The dumplings are delicious by themselves but the bacon (!!!!!!!!!!) is a nice twist.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Hmmm

      just hmmm.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a party in my mouth...

    Everyone's been sick...

    Looks bloody awful.. Like wallpaper paste made with oats.

    Hope it tastes better than it looks.

  3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    gnocchi??

    Sounds very similar to Italian gnocchi, although I usualy make that with cooked and mashed potato rather than raw, grated potato.

    Aldi do it ready made in vacuum sealed packs (and probably full of chemicals/preservatives) if any less kitchen familier types want to try it. Just don't over boil it.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Re: gnocchi??

      You are frying your gnocchi!? You're not even trying to do it right.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: gnocchi??

        I guess you've never tried frying gnocchi - OK its not really gnocchi but it is one of those cooking errors that rewards big time! Though for post pub I'd recommend as much black pepper as you can grind into it. F'in magic!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: gnocchi??

        "You are frying your gnocchi!?"

        No, I said "don't over boil it". Unless you mis-read try as fry.

        Although deep frying it with extra black pepper does sound like an interetsting twist. Thanks Tom7 :-)

      3. jake Silver badge

        Fried gnocchi, recipe: (was: Re: gnocchi??)

        Make gnocchi as usual[1]. Freeze the result.

        Take straight out of the freezer, and fry in olive oil and butter (shallots, garlic, red pepper flakes, etc, as you see fit ...) until browned on the bottom side. Then toss occasionally as you produce your sauce of choice. Note how the ice-crystals slowly turn to steam, turning the final product into lovely pillows of chow. Add sauce of choice & serve. Enjoy :-)

        The above sounds easy. But the devil is in the details. But it's actually not really difficult once you've followed the directions, below ;-)

        [1] 1 pound of boiled russet potatoes, 1 pound of AP flour, 1.5 tsp (4g) salt, a couple eggs[2], water as needed. Rice[3] the spuds. Spread the result on your board to cool. When cool, crack a couple eggs into a well in the riced spuds. Add half the flour/salt mix, and kneed gently (I use the "biscuit" method[4]). Add more flour/salt to minimize stickiness. Let rest for an hour, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge. Cut small portions, roll into a 3/8inch log, cut into 3/4inch segments. Either form into traditional gnocchi, or freeze as is. But do freeze it.

        [2] Two or three eggs. I don't know your chickens. For best results, beat a few together and add them slowly, until you grok how your local ingredients work ...

        [3] Ricer or food mill. Mashing or food processor develops too much gluten.

        [4] Once the mix is on the board, I pull up the two thirds on my left & right and put it down on top of the middle third of the mix. It's messy. Do it four or five times, until it comes together.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: gnocchi??

      My local 'vaguely eastern European' supermarket offers various things vacuum packed things - though not, as far as I have been able to ascertain - this, charmingly described as 'semi-prepared food product edible after heat treatment'.

    3. dan1980

      Re: gnocchi??

      Replace feta with ricotta - makes for lighter gnocchi. (I know gnocchi doesn't usually have any cheese.)

  4. Frank Rysanek

    Bryndza

    Without Bryndza, you cannot say you ate the real deal. The gnocchi-like "carrier", athough some may like it alone (I do :-) is just a dull background to the incredible and breathtaking flavour of genuine Bryndza. Not sure if any British sheep cheese can rival the raw animal energy of the Slovak Bryndza. Unforgettable. I'm not a Slovak - to me, once was enough.

    1. Grave

      Re: Bryndza

      not sure about the flavor of british sheep cheese, but over here slovak sheep cheese and bryndza taste very differently, including consistency (both great though, fresh sheep cheese has soft to touch consistency, a bit like a gum, and nicely squeaks when chewed :)

      consistency of "bryndza" on the other hand is more "crumbly".

      the shape of each dumpling is quite improved when using special grater although skilled chef will make nice uniform dumplings even with just plain cutting board and knife

      there are many variations of course

      you can also pour "milk cream" (not sure if thats proper translation, its called "smotana" over here :)) or use additional cheese (the kind that melts - neither bryndza nor sheep cheese melts) on top of finished halušky

      halušky can be further processed - like roast a bit in the oven until its nice crusty (works both for fresh and even day old leftovers)

      can be served with "žinčica" which is a drink made of sheep milk whey, byproduct of making bryndza. though if you're not used to "žinčica", be prepared for some fast bowel movements :)

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: Bryndza

        Grave, if you’d meant kyslá smotana, then that would translate as “soured cream” (UK English) or “sour cream” (US English). Smotana would translate simply as “cream”. Cheddar curds might be the usual choice of squeaky cheese in the “anglosphere”.

    2. Irony Deficient

      Re: Bryndza

      Frank, apparently butyric acid is a notable component of the flavor of bryndza. (Butyric acid might be better known as a notable flavor component in Hershey’s milk chocolate.)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bryndza @Irony Deficient

        Which, frankly, shows just how shit Hersheys "chocolate" really is.

        Its a sweet, brown edible chocolate substitute. Akin to cooking chocolate but at least cooking choc contains more cocoa than hersheys shit ever will...

    3. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Bryndza

      Yup, we 'd love to try this with some proper Bryndza. Sadly, that looks a remote prospect.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. russell 6

        Re: Bryndza

        I'm in Slovakia for a few weeks. Want me to post some?

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: Bryndza

          A very kind offer, but would the stuff survive the post without anti-terrorist sniffer dog attention?

          1. russell 6

            Re: Bryndza

            Good point. Let me find out

      3. Grave

        Re: Bryndza

        just googled to see if anyone sells this online and apparently someone does :)

        http://www.halusky.co.uk/czech-slovak-foods/bryndza-sheep-milk-cheese-100g.html

        looks like they have got a good selection of products, i can also recommend cheese "korbáčiky", "pareničky", pastries "závin", "koláč"

        1. dv

          Re: Bryndza

          And let's not forget the unforgettable czech delicacy - syrečky (olomoucké tvarůžky for some):

          http://www.halusky.co.uk/czech-slovak-foods/olom-tvarozky-smelly-cheese-80g.html#.VHMOW_mG_ks

          Actually very nice and not THAT smelly (comparable to gorgonzola, but a bit "cleaner" smell). Be prepared to let them ripen a bit:-)

          Almost no fat and full of protein. Best served on freshly baked bread with butter, with a pinch of salt and pepper on top.

  5. Frank Rysanek

    Halušky with cabbage

    Regarding the alternative recipe with cabbage - yes that's the less radical version, making Halušky more accessible to non-Slovaks :-) The cabbage is supposed to be pickled/fermented/sour (Sauerkraut), definitely not fresh and crisp. Not sure at what stage the cabbage gets mixed in - it's definitely not served separate and cold.

    1. Fred 25

      Re: Halušky with cabbage

      <i>Haluski i capustu</i> my grandmother made plenty. Sauerkraut would be nice, obviously, but she always used fresh cabbage, cooked down in a frying pan, often with bacon, onion, black pepper. (þæt wæs god etende!) The cooled boiled haluski (she flicked them from a plate with a spoon) were then tossed around in the frying pan with the cabbage. Alternatively, they go in soups. Alternatively, just heat them up in a pan in butter. Wonderful little clouds. ...Well, dense and heavy clouds, but definitely cumuliform. Great article & series theme, but the cheese was not mentioned on the print-n-post guide.

  6. russell 6

    Perfect timing

    I'm in Slovakia at the moment so will definitely be giving this a try :) As an aside, it really is a beautiful country, particularly in the Tatra mountain region.

  7. jake Silver badge

    I like spätzle too.

    Or gnocchi, or latkes, or croquettes, or ...

    Same ingredients, similar cooking methodology[1]. Seasoning and or/sauce varies according to mood and what's ripe in the garden.

    Bacon is always a nice accompaniment, as is speck, as is prosciutto, as is jamón ...

    [1] Hot oil or hot water ... water's cheaper, and healthier ;-)

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    Dumpling?

    It sounds delicious, and I'll definitely give it a try but to describe the object in your pic as a dumpling stretches credibility I think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dumpling?

      > to describe the object in your pic as a dumpling stretches credibility I think.

      Well, there are different things that are translated as "dumplings" in Central European cuisine, and halušky are definitely one of those (the others I can think of right now would be knedlíky [cs] / Knödel [de-AT] and noky [cs], which are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike gnocchi).

  9. DarkwavePunk

    just got back from Czech

    Now I'm drooling and want to return.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just got back from Czech

      > Now I'm drooling and want to return.

      You are unlikely to find proper halušky in Bohemia. You need to be in South Moravia for that.

  10. Paul Renault

    Alternate method of 'tossing' the potato mixture.

    She uses a steaming sieve to 'cut' the dough.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVPwCOUtaI4

    In any case, whatever she's cooking, I want to eat. Smaczny!

    1. Yeti
      Thumb Up

      Re: Alternate method of 'tossing' the potato mixture.

      THIS is how you do it! You pour the rather thin dough on the sieve and push it through with a spoon into boiling water. They're done in about a minute.

      That sieve is unfortunately a special single-purpose halušky-making one.

  11. bpfh Bronze badge

    Just come back from Austria

    A couple of things I ate in Austria, a part from the omnipresent Wienerschnizel, were "Noedel" (i think), that was served as micro-gnocchi, drenched in pizza spicy oil, with spring onions, garlic, bacon bits, and melted cheese , and somthing similar to this article, but the potatoes were thin sliced, fried, with bacon, fried onions, and totally dripping in melted cheese.... Lovely stuff, holds you down on a winter day. So good that you keep tasting it at each belch during your afternoon long indigestion...

  12. JDX Gold badge

    How could it not be good?

    Potato, cheese, bacon... perfect

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: How could it not be good?

      Especially if the bacon is fried such that it contains enough BCBs (according to the Samuel Vimes school of gastronomy)

  13. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Bacon?

    Is that vaguely ham-like stuff what passes for bacon in Spain?

    If so then you're obviously a tough man to get by on such meagre rations.

  14. clean_state
    Happy

    Horrroooooor!

    Thanks for posting an article on Bryndzové Halušky but why did you have to make such a massacre of the recipe ?

    1) Eggs in bryndzové halušky ? What ?

    2) The potato grater you used is wrong. You want the one with spikes that reduces raw potatoes to a uniform paste, not the grater that makes thin strips. That's for carrots.

    3) Bacon ? C'mon, the real thing is flavoured with lard, not bacon. You know what lard is right ?

    4) Kitchen knife and cutting board are the tools of the trade for dispatching small pieces of the dough into the boiling water pot.

    5) Bryndza: sadly not readily available outside of Slovakia but halušky are not the real thing without Bryndza. Bryndza is not a strong cheese, it does not smell, it's fresh cheese actually. It looks like cottage cheese but is made from sheep. It has a distinct flavour though.

    An finally, for those who need even more calories on tom of the potatoes, flour, lard and cheese, it is a delicacy to "lighten" your halušky with a touch of sour cream and I like them with a glass of fermented milk.

    Dobrú chuť (good appetite - Bon appétit)

    (and jokes aside, thanks for the article)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Horrroooooor!

      > 3) Bacon ? C'mon, the real thing is flavoured with lard, not bacon. You know what lard is right ?

      Spot on! If the stuff you're using has any traces of meat in it, as opposed to being pure fat, you're doing it wrong.

      > It [bryndza] has a distinct flavour though.

      Very euphemistically put.

      I fucking hate halušky with a passion, but if you're going to inflict them on yourself, I agree it has to be done right.

  15. Pat Volk

    Not the halushky I grew up with, but good-sounding upgrade

    In my part of the states (Pittsburgh), Halushky is acceptable as wedding buffet fare, but it's very basic. Egg noodles, cabbage sauteed in butter long enough to caramelize a bit, maybe some onions thrown in there.

    Bacon is turning the flavor up to 11. Nothing wrong with that. Halushky to me has a volume of about 2 or 3, but it's sublimely good. Fresh noodles, good butter, and the cabbage... awesome. Not the best thing for the waistline... During lent, you can go to any Ukrainian Church here and buy fresh-made pyrohi made by the babushka ladies. Sometimes a fish sandwich is too much.

    Sour cream is the usual flavour adjuster.

  16. stringyfloppy

    But, ummm...

    ...what do we do with the cheese? You've left us hanging!

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