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.
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.
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.
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.
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.