Flavours of home: Halusky s brundzou

Flavours of home is a series of recipes from around the world cooked by people at home in Otago. This week Zuzana Blazov Tichy, from Slovakia, shows us how to make Halusky s brundzou.

Zuzana Blazov Tichy, a registered nurse, followed her fiance to Dunedin 11 years ago.

Although no longer married to him, she has stayed and still cooks Slovak food often, she says.

Because Slovakia was a poor country, people bulked up their meals with filling things like dumplings or gnocchi and sauces to make a little meat go further.

Cabbage - both fresh and pickled as sauerkraut - and potatoes were the main vegetables, and pork was very popular.

Her extended family killed a pig several times a year.

It was such fun as everyone worked together to make sausages, blood pudding and other specialities, she said.

Food was always a very social thing, enjoyed with family and friends.

Halusky s brundzou, gnocchi with soft sheep's milk cheese, is a favourite meal in Slovakia.

Here she uses feta, which is similar, she says.

This hearty meal of potato gnocchi or dumplings is one of the national dishes of Slovakia.

Halusky s brundzou

potato gnocchi with traditional sheep's milk cheese

Serves 2-4 people

600g potatoes
300g flour
1 egg
250-300g feta cheese
100-150ml milk
80-100g streaky bacon

Peel potatoes.

Traditionally they were grated finely.

Zuzana prefers to process them.

When they are mushy, add a little of the flour, the egg and about a teaspoon of salt.

Process, then add the rest of the flour and mix to a thick, but just pourable consistency.

Set aside to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boil.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a dry, preferably non-stick, pan.

Stir from time to time until cooked and crisp.

Break the feta into the processor bowl and whizz with enough milk to make a sauce-like consistency.

When the water comes to the boil put in the gnocchi.

Zuzana uses a Slovak gnocchi sieve that sits over the pot.

The round holes in the flat bottom allow small pieces of dough to be pushed into the boiling water.

If you don't have one, put the dough on a board and use a knife to quickly cut small pieces and push into the boiling water.

They will soon float to the top.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Test to see if they are done by putting one in a cup of cold water to cool, then tasting it.

When cooked it will no longer taste of raw potato or flour.

When the gnocchi are cooked, drain them, rinse with cold water to stop them cooking, and put them in a bowl.

Pour the feta mix over and stir to coat.

Serve with crispy bacon on top.


Limit the amount of salt you use, as feta and bacon are both salty.

Zuzana says her Mum uses a little bacon fat over the cooked gnocchi as it stops them sticking together.

She sometimes uses quark or cottage cheese instead of the feta.

Alternatives to bacon could be herbs such as dill or chives.

Cabbage or sauerkraut cooked with bacon and onions would also be served with it.

This is good with a glass of milk or a cold beer.

Thanks to Afife Harris.


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