There are three main components to this dish; Potato Dumplings, Bryndza Cheese, and Bacon. I will first give an overview of the ingredients and process, then give plenty of options and guidance for each part of the dish to accommodate many cooking styles and tastes.
4-6 potatoes (Russet is nice but any kind will do)
1/2 cup milk
2-4 cups all-purpose flour
lots of boiling water in a big pan
4-7 oz. fresh goat cheese
6-8 oz. quark cheese
1/2 cup milk (optional)
1 pound double-smoked bacon
salt and pepper
sour cream (8 oz. should be more than plenty)
sparkling water, diet soda (regular has strange taste with this dish), or Kofola
Slovak Salad (grated or sliced cucumber, onion, and tomato topped with garlic salt, pepper, and copious amounts of white vinegar)
- Make Slovak Salad for side, refrigerate
- Cube bacon and put in pan, but do not start heat
- Begin cheese-melting process in part II and stir periodically
- Start boiling water for dumplings
- Begin grating potatoes and make dough in part I
- Start heat on bacon and watch/stir as you complete step 7, turn off heat when done
- Cook dumplings as outlined in part II
- If noodles have cooled quite a bit, microwave bowl for a minute or so
- Stir cheese into noodles
- Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water into the cheese/noodle mix. Subtract for milk added to cheese mix.
- Add bacon (and half or all of the bacon grease if you really want to be adventurous)
- Serve in bowls, top with sour cream, salt, and pepper
I. Potato Dumplings
The first trick is to finely grate the peeled potatoes. They may turn brown at this stage and that’s okay. You don’t need to zest them, but they do need to be finer than a standard large-strand cheese grater. An alternative here is to use potato flakes and rehydrate them into normal potatoes, then follow the rest of the process as usual.
Trust me, the grating is a more authentic taste but reconstituted dried potatoes are much less work.
From here, you add one egg per 2-3 people. Also add a little milk (1 Tbsp. per person). Between the egg, milk, and the water from the potatoes, you have a very wet mash.
Here is where it gets tricky: to maintain the right consistency, add flour until your stirring implement will stand up straight when left in the dough.
I know that’s ambiguous, but it really is a consistency thing and cannot be measured precisely. A rough estimate is 1/2 cup of flour per person to start out, adding up to another half of that amount to attain the proper consistency. This is somewhere between a batter and a bread dough. Remember, it must be viscous enough to drip through the holes of the haluskar. If you don’t have a haluskar, try cutting the pieces like this video. You can also follow any spaetzle recipe using a spaetzle maker and it will taste similar if this seems like too much work.
Now that you have the dough completed, it’s time to cook the noodles. This part is very important if you don’t want to be eating a starchy goop. Use a large pot and fill it 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. A 6-quart pot or larger is optimal. Make sure the water is boiling and add a little salt (2 Tbsp.) for flavor. You want to keep the temperature of the water relatively high. If you cook all your noodles at once, the water will turn goopy. Fill the haluskar with dough and coax it to drip out the bottom by stirring with a spoon or fork. Cook the noodles one haluskar load at a time (1-2 cups), let the water return to a boil, let all the noodles float to the top, wait another 20 seconds, then take them out with a slotted spoon. Briefly run in a strainer under cold water (makes them firmer) and set in the serving bowl. Repeat for all the noodles. If your water gets gooey, wait a minute for it to regain its temperature.
II. Bryndza Cheese
I heat the cheese in a glass bowl by setting the bowl over a pot of heated water (almost boiling). Once the cheese is fully melted and blended together, it is ready to pour over the noodles. You can also add a little milk to the melted cheese for a thinner consistency. Microwaving is also an option if you want to speed up the process, just try not to burn the cheese.