How to make Grate Cepelinai!
Some unique recipes have been developing in Lithuania far from the influences of the western world
For the dough
- 6 lb potatoes (ideally russet or Idaho)
- ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoons salt
For the filling
- 1 lb ground beef or pork or combine with veal – your preference
- 1 onion , chopped
- 2 tablespoons salt
For the gravy
- 4 oz. bacon , diced
- 2 onions , chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream
Peel the potatoes. Press the juice of half a lemon (alternatively, crush half a vitamin C pill !) and place in a large mixing bowl.
Grate the raw potatoes with an electric or manual potato grater into the bowl. Regularly mix the potatoes so they do not turn dark.
Place some of the grated potatoes into a cheesecloth over a separate bowl and squeeze until the potatoes are almost dry. Repeat with the remaining grated potatoes.
Slowly pour away the potato juice from the bowl to collect the layer of potato starch settled at the bottom of the bowl.
Incorporate the potato starch with the drained grated potatoes, add salt and knead until well combined.
Combine the ground beef (or pork), chopped onions, pepper and salt. Mix well.
Fill a large stockpot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil.
Take a portion (size of a tennis ball) of the potato dough and flatten in your hands. Take a smaller portion (size of a golf ball) of the meat filling and put in the center.
Fold the potato dough to seal the dumpling and form the shape of a zeppelin. Repeat with the remaining dough and meat.
Once the water comes to boil, reduce heat to medium and slowly lower the cepelinai into the boiling water.
Boil for 20 minutes or until the meat filling is cooked through. Carefully remove the dumplings from the stockpot with a slotted spoon.
Add the diced bacon and chopped onions into a large frying pan. Sauté on medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Turn the heat off, then add the sour cream. Mix well and thin the gravy with a little hot water or chicken stock if necessary.
Serve the cepelinai generously topped with the gravy.
Step by step process by Cep-Lina!
Our masterchef is Lina Ceplinskiene (her name befits the task!)
Photos of the process by Barbara Rolek