CZECH BACON DUMPLINGS

Czech name: Špekové knedlíky

Written by Matej Zivcak

Dumplings are a significant dish in traditional Czech cuisine, known as knedliky, and are thought to have originated in the 17th century when people started to use flour as a basic ingredient. As a pastry, they used to be baked very technically. At the beginning of the 19th century, dumplings were not served as a side dish, but as a main dish. As time went on, there started to be many variations of dumplings, with different fillings, shapes, and sizes. Dumplings as we know them in the Czech Republic are very popular in Central Europe, from where they expanded to the world.
Dumplings play a big part in Czech cuisine because they can be normally served with almost anything, especially with sauces and meats. The main ingredient for dumplings is flour, although there are a few types of dumplings which are made without it. There are many varieties of dumplings, besides bacon ones, such as bread dumplings or potato dumplings. Dumplings can also be filled with meat or vegetables. Each kind of dumplings is typically eaten with a different kind of meal. For instance, while bread dumplings are served with goulash, potato dumplings are usually served with spinach and pork.

Ingredients

1 lb whole slab bacon
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 loaf french bread, cubed
1 egg
1 tsp of mace
2 cups of milk
1/4 lbs of lard
1 cup Wondra instant flour
1 onion, finely chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Wash the whole slab bacon and boil it until soft, debone it, and chop it into small cubes. Pat the bacon dry and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30 minutes to allow to dry out and crisp up. Set the bacon aside and toss the bread cubes onto the pan. Bake it to a light golden color, stirring occasionally.

Sift the flour and mix it with a bit of salt and pepper, the egg, and the milk into a smooth batter. To the batter we will add the roasted bacon and french bread and let it rest for a while, approximately 1 hour. From the rested batter with bacon we will shape small round dumplings, place them into salted boiling water, and cook for 10 – 12 minutes. Once cooked, take the dumplings out and pierce it with a fork. Place them on a covered plate to keep them warm and moist.

In a frying pan, melt lard and fry the chopped onion to a light golden color. When serving, cut the dumplings in a half and top with the lard and fried onions. The Czech bacon dumplings can also be served with sauerkraut.