Traditionally, Bryndzové Halušky is mixed with a sheep milk cheese called bryndza in the former Czechoslovakia. I used Feta cheese in this adapted recipe. You can serve this as a side dish to something like grilled and sliced kielbasa or cube kielbasa and mix with the Halusky. Serve this as a main entree. They can be topped with cabbage, eggs or as I’ve done here with crumbled bacon.
The beginnings of the Czech cuisine go back to the time when the Czech nation was formed. At that time, people would use all domestic raw materials produced by farming, cattle breeding, hunting and trade. The very essence of the old Czech cuisine was bread. It used to be the basic nutrient element: it seems that our predecessors would not start eating without bread at hand. Normally, they would have bread and cheese, or they would eat bread and drink buttermilk and acidified milk. There were several kinds of bread in the old Czech cuisine, for example, bread made of buckwheat, millet, rye, wheat or true millet.
The first written recipes appeared in the 15th century. The period of the 16th century in the history of Czech cuisine is considered the “period of profligacy”. At that time, seasoning was introduced and original Czech meals were extended with Italian, Spanish, French and English specialties, and the first cook books were printed. The cook books provided guidelines on how to use figs, olives and spices from overseas. Pepper, cinnamon, capers, orange peel, etc. were introduced.
The very oldest preserved printed cookery book from that period is the book created by a printer named Severin, comprising 400 recipes. In the 17th century, considerable social differences emerged when it came to Czech cuisine “in the castle” and “in the village under the castle”. Poor villagers would eat mainly vegetable-based meals: meat was served on special occasions only. However, rich noblemen, who lived in castles and expensive town residencies, copied foreign eating habits. The trend was continued in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sweet meals were introduced and became popular, e.g. desserts and chocolate, bunt cakes, buns and pancakes.
This was the time that dumplings arrived. Today’s traditional Czech yeast dumpling does not have roots in the Czech lands. Our cuisine obviously adopted it from Tyrolean shepherds, and it has become a national meal. Potatoes were frequently eaten in villages, being processed in many different ways.
Excerpts from a June, 2010 article written by: Ivana Jenerálová
Czechoslovakian Bryndzové Halušky
Halusky, traditionally called Bryndzové Halušky, are potato dumplings of both Slovakian and Polish origin even though some may debate me here especially those of Hungarian and Ukrainians decent. No matter your ancestry, Halusky is truly one of the comfort foods that is probably already a family favorite.
The traditional way of making Haulsky is to make as your own potato noodles. You can add or as a topping to a flat egg noodle in your own recipe. On the internet and in cookbooks you will find many variations. I have here a basic recipe made using bacon but you can always add your own personality.
- ½ pound of bacon
- 1 medium potato; peeled and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup of flour
- 1 egg - beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ salt (more or less to flavor)
- 1 cup feta cheese
- Sour Cream - optional
- Cook bacon in a skillet until evenly brown and slightly crisp
- Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, crumble when cooled to touch.
- Set aside the rest of bacon grease for later
- Place potatoes into a food processor and process until pureed, 2 to 3 minutes
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, eggs, baking powder, and salt to make a sticky dough.
- Set dough aside.
- Fill a large pot about half full of lightly salted water and bring to a boil.
- Scoop large spoonfuls of the sticky dough to a small cutting board and using a knife cut the dough into small pieces (larger than a marble) and place a few at a time into the boiling water.
- Allow the dumplings to boil over a medium heat until the float - usually about 2 to 3 minutes.
- As you transfer a batch to the bowl sprinkle some bacon and feta cheese and continue to do that for each batch.
- When all the dumplings are fully made and transferred to the bowl, stir the Halusky and all the ingredients together. To make a creamier dish mix the feta cheese cheese with some sour cream.
- Uncooked dough will be very pasty and sticky but not thin.
- Before adding the bacon and cheese you can fry up dumplings in bacon grease and vegetable oil after boiling, caramelize one med sweet red onion (chopped) in oil or the bacon grease saved previously with a little oil.
- Replace the feta cheese with cheddar cheese, garnish with freshly chopped chives, and add a generous spoonful of sour cream to each serving!