Cepelinai or Didžkukuliai are a Lithuanian national dish. They are a type of dumpling made from grated potatoes and usually stuffed with minced meat, although sometimes dry cottage cheese (curd) or mushrooms are used instead. So named because their shape resembles that of a Zeppelin airship, cepelinai are typically around 10–20 cm long, although the size depends on where they are made: in the western counties of Lithuania cepelinai are made bigger than in the east. After boiling, the cepelinai are served with sour cream sauce and bacon
- 1kg uncooked peeled potatoes
- 3 or 4 boiled potatoes
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- some salt
- 300g minced beef or other meat,
- ( curd or mushrooms can be used as vegetarian filling )
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 egg
- salt, pepper, spices
- 75g bacon
- 1 onion
- olive oil
- 4 spoonfuls of sour cream
- salt, pepper
For the potatoes
- Put the grated potatoes into a large piece of fine-mesh cheesecloth or smooth kitchen towel, grabbing corners together to form a pouch.
- Wring the towel over a bowl, straining the excess liquid from the grated potatoes through the cloth, squeezing firmly with your hands until the potatoes are as dry as possible.
- Put the potatoes into a mixing bowl. Reserve the liquid.
- Let the starch settle to the bottom of the bowl of liquid, then pour the liquid off; add the starch back to the potatoes.
- Mash the boiled potatoes or run them through a ricer, and then add to the grated ones.
- Add the egg and a dash of salt and knead well.
- For the meat: Combine the beef, pork, salt, pepper and garlic in a bowl. Mix well with your hands.
- Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
- Bring a large wide pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, roll about 1-cupful of the potato mixture into a ball with your hands. Gently flatten it into a 1/2-inch-thick round patty.
- Place 1/4 cup of the meat mixture into the centre of the potatoes.
- Cup your hands together to seal the potato into a football shape, gently forming into an oval. Repeat forming more cepelinais with the remaining potato and meat mixtures.
- Gently slip the cepelinai into the boiling water, allowing the water to return to a boil before the next dumpling is added.
- Do not overcrowd the cepelinai in the pot. Stir carefully and occasionally.
- Boil until the dumplings are translucent and the meat is cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the dumplings using a slotted spoon, drain and place on a heated platter.
- Cook the bacon and onions in a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions are lightly browned.
- Pour off some of the excess fat.
- For richer gravy, stir the sour cream carefully into the bacon-onion mixture.
- Blend well but do not boil. You can also serve the sour cream on the side.
- Spoon the bacon and onions over the cepelinais and serve.