Lithuanian "Cepelinai" Potato & Meat Dumplings

By • April 2, 2011 • 9 Comments



Author Notes: Cepelinai is originally a Lithuanian potato and beef filled dumpling.
When I first tasted Cepelinai I thought that it is very difficult to make them, but I liked them so much, that I had to try. I didn’t have the recipe but was determent to make it perfectly. Finely I got it right: the measurements, the ingredients, and the cooking technique.
Now I am brave enough to share with all of you. I made them with chicken meat, because now days many people are not eating beef.
Kukla

Serves 6 (two per portion)

  • • 6 large russet potatoes
  • • 6 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
  • • 1 egg
  • • 1 medium onion
  • • 4 pieces thick cut bacon (cut in ½ inch bits)
  • • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • • ½ a teaspoon dry coriander
  • • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. 3 of the 6 potatoes cook or bake in the skin. In a skillet, render and brown the bacon bits until really crispy. Drain bacon and almost all of the grease (leave just 1 tablespoon) thru a fine sift to small, tall bowl. Sauté the meat (cut in bite size pieces) until lightly browned. Dice, and add the onion, salt, pepper and coriander; continue to sauté for another 10 minutes. In the last 2-3 minutes add minced garlic. Take of the stove, let cool to room temperature. When it’s cooled, run thru a meat grinder to a medium bowl, taste for seasoning, and mix in the egg (lightly beaten) and set a side.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the cooked potatoes and grate them on the large side of a grater to a bowl. Then peel the raw potatoes and grind on the small side to the same bowl. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth and homogenized. Get a little flour on your hands; take a full tablespoon of the potato mixture and flatten it. Make an indentation; put in ½ of a tablespoon meat mixture, close, and roll with your hands to an oval shape of a Zeppelin. Lay them out on large cutting board sprinkled with flour, and then sprinkle some flour on the top of the dumplings.
  3. Bring a very large and wide pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and with a strainer lower four dumplings, (1 at the time).When the water comes back to a boil; turn down the flame to medium-low. When dumplings come to the surface, cook them not more than for 5-6 minutes. Get them out carefully with the strainer; orange cooked dumplings on a large platter in one layer, and keep them in the oven at 200 degrees. Repeat the same step two more times if you wont to serve all 12 dumplings right a way, or freeze the rest.
  4. Serve with your favorite sauce, but do not forget about the crispy bacon that you cooked in the beginning, skater bacon or caramelized onions on top of the dumplings. I like to serve Cepelinais with a not to thick homemade mushroom-sour cream or tomato sauce. You may also like to serve them in a clear flavorful broth. Garnish with herbs of your choice. Try to make Cepelinais and you will cook them again and again.
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Tags: flavorful, satisfying, savory

Comments (9) Questions (0)

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9 months ago lithobricks

can u freeze it

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9 months ago Kukla

Yes lithobricks, you can freeze Cepelinai, but before cooking.

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over 3 years ago edibleobsessions

We made these a few years ago for christmas--much more dense than the ones we've had at the Lithuanian club in Southie. We used minced pork as the filling and, of course, had to garnish them with sour cream, butter and more bacon. It's always a nice surprise to find a Lithuanian recipe online :)

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over 3 years ago Kukla

Thank you pupa for your comment.
I always remember this step when I make any dishes with just row potatoes, such as latkes’ or fritters. But since in the cepelinai we use both, (cooked and row) and I like to keep them from getting that dark oxidized color, I just quickly squeeze the grated row potatoes in my hands, and it dose not make a different’s. They keep together pretty well.I made a mistake writing in the recipe (grinned instead of grate).
I first tried cepelinai in Druskaninky (a very popular resort in Lithuania). My daughter was just seven. Now she is forty, and I never came across them in any American restaurants.
Thank you again. I defiantly will make them with Farmer’s cheese.

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over 3 years ago Kukla

Thank you pupa for your comment.
I always remember this step when I make any dishes with just row potatoes, such as latkes’ or fritters. But since in the cepelinai we use both, (cooked and row) and I like to keep them from getting that dark oxidized color, I just quickly squeeze the grated row potatoes in my hands, and it dose not make a different’s. They keep together pretty well.I made a mistake writing in the recipe (grinned instead of grate).
I first tried cepelinai in Druskaninky (a very popular resort in Lithuania). My daughter was just seven. Now she is forty, and I never came across them in any American restaurants.
Thank you again. I defiantly will make them with Farmer’s cheese.

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over 3 years ago Kukla

Thank you pupa for your comment.
I always remember this step when I make any dishes with just row potatoes, such as latkes’ or fritters. But since in the cepelinai we use both, (cooked and row) and I like to keep them from getting that dark oxidized color, I just quickly squeeze the grated row potatoes in my hands, and it dose not make a different’s. They keep together pretty well.I made a mistake writing in the recipe (grinned instead of grate).
I first tried cepelinai in Druskaninky (a very popular resort in Lithuania). My daughter was just seven. Now she is forty, and I never came across them in any American restaurants.
Thank you again. I defiantly will make them with Farmer’s cheese.

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over 3 years ago pupa

i love that you put this recipe on food52. oh cepelinai. how delish you are. ive got a couple of suggestions straight from my lithuanian grandmother's kitchen:

one huge step youve left out: rice the raw potatoes and put them through a cheesecloth to strain out the liquid. let the liquid sit so that the starch and water separate. add the potato starch back into the cooked and raw riced potatoes. this will keep your cepelinai together better when boiling.

ALSO you can use farmer's cheese as a filling instead of chicken. that way you can not eat beef but keep these a bit more traditional. although the chicken may be pretty tasty.


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over 3 years ago Rmadievsky

YUM!

Stringio

over 3 years ago testkitchenette

Lovely, thank you for sharing!