Potatoes are a staple in Lithuanian cuisine and take part in a large number of elaborate preparations. Also of note, the outstanding quality of Lithuanian deli products, whether cured pork meats or cheeses.
This recipe is a must of Lithuanian cooking and a hearty dish which locals can eat at any time of day, including breakfast.
Cepelinai means zeppelins, to describe the shape given to these dumplings. The dumplings can also be made in balls, more especially to differentiate curd ones from meat ones, if both are prepared the same day.
for 30 servings (makes approximately 20 meat and 10 curd potato balls):
For the meat stuffing and curd filling:
- 1 kg of ground meat, usually pork (leg and rib meat)
- 3 cloves of garlic or shallots
- 6 slices of white bread
- 4 to 5 eggs
- 400 to 500 grams of curd or cottage cheese
- salt, pepper
For the potato wrapping:
- 6 kg of potatoes
- 1 small onion whole
For the sauce:
- 1 big purple onion chopped thinly
- 700 to 800 grams of bacon in bits
- 500 grams of cream
- salt, pepper
1 - Preparation of the meat stuffing:
Mix the ground meat with with salt, pepper, pressed garlic or shallots, 3 to 4 eggs. Cut crust away from slices of bread, dip them in water and press excess water out. Add bread to the stuffing and mix.
2 - Preparation of the curd filling:
Slightly press excess water out of curd then mix in 1 egg, salt and pepper and shape into oval balls of approx 4 cm diameter.
3 - Preparation of potato wrappings:
3A - With 1 kilo of potatoes: peel and boil with one small onion whole. Then mash with a hand device.
3B - With 5 kilos of potatoes: peel and thinly grate raw. Place a thin cloth on a bowl. Put 3 or 4 ladles of this raw mash at a time into the cloth.
Press liquid out into the bowl for later use. Once pressed, keep the raw mash in a separate bowl.
3C - Let such liquid sit for about 10 minutes then carefully throw water away to keep remaining starch at bottom.
3D - Mix mashed potatoes and the raw mash together. Add starch from bottom of bowl and knead by hand.
3E - Form dumplings in the following manner: take a small bowl of dough in hand, to make it into a flat round of approximately 12 cm diameter. Put oval ball of meat inside, fold lengthwise, then fold corners and reshape into a zeppelin.
For curd dumplings, follow the same steps but shape into a ball.
3F - In boiling salted water, put dumplings in, one batch at a time. When water reboils, count approximately 20 minutes of cooking time. They usually resurface once they are cooked.
4 - Preparation of the sauce:
Cut bacon in bits and fry, then throw away fat. Add thinly chopped onions, let them soften for 5 minutes, then pour cream over and let it simmer. If sauce is too thick, use water in which dumplings were boiled to make sauce thinner.