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10.6.10

HUNGARIAN POTATO DUMPLING - DÖDŐLLE



“Éliás, Tóbiás
Egy tál dödőlle
Ettél belőle
Kertbe mentek a tyúkok
Mind megették a maggot.”

Dödőlle is basically a potato dumpling. All you need for making dödőlle is potatoes, flour, and some sort of fat. The rest is just icing on the cake. Dödőlle is cheap peasant food that can be comforting and delicious. If you are careless in its making it can be a stick to your ribs kind of meal at best and bloating at its worst. But take a little care with the preparation and it becomes the comfort food of rural Hungary.

My acquaintance with dödőlle started and ended with the nursery rhyme. I learned it as a little kid and more than fifty years later I still remember it. But I have never given a thought to what dödölle is. After all, some nursery rhymes are nonsensical even if the song claims you ate from it. The truth is Dödőlle didn’t interest me. Not until now.

I was doing a bit of research on ancient Hungarian cuisine and that is where I found the dödőlle recipe. You have to understand that a typical Hungarian recipe is vague and brief; even complex meals are presented as a mere paragraphs. And this was one of those recipes. Then I checked several Hungarian cooking blogs and decided to try my hand at dödőlle making. I followed one of the recipes to the last detail, but it turned out pretty awful. My first reaction was I will never make this again. Then I thought about it and sort of reinvented the dödőlle. I am almost certain my version is the real thing.

First of all I cooked the potatoes on medium heat but without covering them. So by the time the potatoes were cooked, the water nicely reduced; locking in all the flavours. Then I added more flour than I thought I should have and this produced the perfect dödőlle dough; easy to handle, really, it was a snap to make. I didn’t make them large either; they were “nudli” sized. Finally, I did not cook the dödőlle with the paprika onions as many bloggers suggested. I found that frying them with the paprika onions, the dödőlle absorbed the paprika thus lost all of its dödőlle deliciousness. I believe that the charm of this dish is in the complexity of flavours and textures, and this can be best brought about by layering the components instead of fusing them together.

I made exactly one bowl of dödőlle, this was enough for the Jim and I, but you may want to double the recipe, because we are rather small eaters these days.

1 very large russet potato [it has to be the starchy type]
flour
salt to taste
tiny slab of bacon or olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika
sour cream

• Peel, rinse and chop a very large russet potato.
• Place in a small pot and just cover with water.
• Bring to boil.
• Reduce so it continues to simmer without having to cover the pot.
• Meanwhile chop the bacon.
• Add the bacon to a fry pan and fry it crisp.
• Remove from heat.
• With a slotted spoon separate the fat and the bacon and reserve them in two tiny bowls.
• Dice the onion.
• Add the diced onion to the same fry pan and sauté until soft.
• If needed spoon a bit from the reserved bacon fat back into the fry pan.
• Stir in 1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika and add the reserved bacon bits.
• Continue cooking until components are nicely combined.
• Remove the fry pan from heat and scoop out the onion mixture and set aside.
• At this point wipe the fry pan with a paper towel. You want a clean surface for frying them dödőlle.
• By now the potato should be soft with most of the water reduced.
• Remove the potato from the heat. But do not pour off the potato liquid.
• Immediately stir into the pot more flour than you would deem necessary.
• The dough should clump up and be ready to be handled without sticking. Look at photo.
• Press half the dough onto a plate.
• Spoon 1-2 tsp from the reserved bacon fat into the pan.
• Using a teaspoon, tear off nudli-sized pieces of dough and drop into the fry pan.
• Fill the pan with the dödőlle and keep turning them over so they are nicely browned on all sides.
• Add more bacon fat if needed. [If you need any, it will be very little]
• When the first batch of dödőlle is cooked, scoop them into a baking pan and put the pan in a warm oven.
• Cook the next batch.
• When all the dough has been used up, pile all the dödőlle into a bowl.
• Add dollops of sour cream and top with the parika-onion-bacon mixture and serve.

For a bit of variety serve dödőlle with sauerkraut or with clumps of goatcheese
For a meatless dish omit the bacon and use olive oil instead.






  

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. This is to my old on-line friends and visitors: policing the comment section for spam and answering questions has become a chore. Good wishes to you all, happy cooking and keep on feeding your people with good food.

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