Lithuanian potato dumplings take a lot of effort, but once you try them you'll see that every bit was worth it!
Red Bliss potatoes (or any new potatoes)
Ground caraway seeds
1 tbsp. + more
Dried porcini mushrooms
Chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Smoked streaky bacon
Chopped dill or green onions
- Add pork to a large bowl, mix with 1 finely chopped shallot. Mix in 1 beaten egg, season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge while you are preparing the potatoes.
- Peel, chop and boil 2 potatoes until tender. Drain and mash.
- Grate 8 potatoes (uncooked) using the finest grater blade you have available. Line a large bowl with clean cheesecloth or a clean tea towel, place the grated potatoes into the bowl. Fold the two ends of the fabric above the potatoes and twist it to wring all of the liquid from the potatoes (well, as much as you can and then some more). Let the liquid sit for a couple of minutes to let the starch from the potatoes settle in the bottom. Discard most of the water carefully and keep the starchy part of it.
- Finely grate 2 shallots.
- Transfer grated potatoes into the bowl with the starch. Mix in mashed potatoes, grated shallots, and 1 tsp. of salt; mix until well combined.
- Rinse your hands under running water to wet them. Scoop about 1 cup of the potato mixture out, flatten it with wet hands. Add 1 tbsp. of the filling in the center of the patty, then carefully overlap the sides of the patty on top of the filling and roll it in your hands to form a tightly sealed dumpling and gently shape to resemble the authentic zeppelin shape.
- Repeat until you have no more potatoes or filling.
- Fill a large pot with water up to ¾ and bring it to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low or low to let the water just simmer. One by one, add the dumplings to the pot (be very careful!), cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for about half an hour. Do not go too far from the stove you need to keep the water gently simmering, otherwise, your zeppelins will lose their shape!
- While the dumplings are simmering, cook bacon until crispy, chop into small pieces or crumble and set aside.
- Soak porcini mushrooms in ½ cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Finely chop the remaining shallots and fry them in butter over medium-high heat until translucent. Add chestnut mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. of the soaking water from porcini mushrooms and stir carefully.
- Small chop the porcini mushrooms and stir them into the mixture in the pan. Add crème fraîche, folding it in very gently. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove dumplings from the liquid, place them onto plates (2 dumplings per serving), top with the sauce, chopped dill or green onions and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately with a big green salad and some fresh bread.
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