Bryndzové halušky is a dish of small potato dumplings (halušky) with “bryndza” (Slovak sheep’s cheese) and it’s comfort food at its very best.
My maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from a village in Eastern Slovakia and my grandmother made this for her family every Friday. Now my mom and I make it using her recipe.
It can be eaten as the main course or, in smaller portions, as a side dish. However, my family always eats it alone as it’s VERY filling; as my grandma would say—it’s meant to keep you going for a full day’s work!
The dough is the trickiest part of this dish, but once you understand the consistency I promise it’s quick and easy to make!
Here’s the recipe for how to make Slovakian Bryndzové Halusky at home!
Bryndzové halušky is the national dish of Slovakia! In some regions where sheep were scarce and only cows were kept, the halušky is prepared with cottage cheese rather than bryndza (sheep’s cheese).
We don’t have Slovak bryndza in the United States, so our family makes a bryndza substitute using crumbled feta cheese and sour cream, which has a similar taste.
Often, bryndzové halušky is topped with thick bacon cubes or sausage, but as a vegetarian, I leave the meat out and this is the version I’m sharing with you.
So put on some traditional Slovak Fujara music and let’s get started!
Makes 4 portions
- 4 medium/large red potatoes or 2 large Russet potatoes
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp salt (plus a pinch to salt the water)
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
For the bryndza substitute:
- 6 oz. (about ¾ cup) feta cheese
- About 5 heaping tbsp Sour Cream
Recipe + Preparation
- Prepare the bryndza substitute: Break up any larger feta crumbles with a knife to make smaller. Combine the feta and sour cream and stir well. Allow mixture to sit and come to room temperature while you prepare the halušky.
- For the halusky: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add a pinch of salt. While the water is heating, wash and peel potatoes.
- Finely grate the potatoes into a large bowl. This may be done by hand, using a fine food grater, or by placing the peeled and chopped potatoes into a food processor and processing until pureed. Carefully pour out any excess water from the grated potatoes.
- Stir in the salt and gradually add the flour, mixing well. Important: slowly stir in the flour to ensure you don’t add too much as the amount needed will vary depending on potato size. You may not use all of the flour, or may need a little more. The dough is ready when the spoon can stand up in the dough and falls down slowly to the side.
- Place a portion of the dough onto a wooden cutting board. Using a small knife, cut and “toss” the dough into the boiling water, making sure to keep the pieces relatively small and similar in size. The drops of dough should stay together in the boiling water and not break apart. If they break apart, add more flour to the dough to thicken.
- When the halušky rises to the top, use a slotted spoon to remove and place into a colander. Repeat this process with portions of the dough so as not to leave the cooked dough in the boiling water for too long.
- Give the halušky dumplings a quick rinse in the colander with hot water to remove excess starch.
8. Pour out the water from the pot and transfer the halušky back into the pot. Stir in the butter to coat the halušky (optional).
9. Carefully stir in the bryndza/substitute, coating the halušky evenly. Serve warm.
Tips and Tricks
Work FAST when peeling and grating the potatoes to prevent browning. I recommend pouring out water from the grated potatoes as you go and stirring in a bit of the flour to keep the halušky dough from browning too much as you work through peeling and grating the potatoes.
My family prefers using red potatoes as they seem to be less starchy and not as sticky as Russets, but either will work.
In Slovakia, most people use a halušky maker called a “haluškár” which looks like a pan with holes in the bottom. The dough is placed in the haluškár and dropped through the holes into the boiling water. This keeps the halušky uniform in size and shape.
A spaetzle maker could be used for a similar effect, but I like to hand toss the dough as that’s the way my grandmother did it.
A variation of this dish, called Strapačky s kapustou, which my family also enjoys, can be made with sauerkraut (¾ of a 28 oz can) rather than cheese as follows:
Rinse and drain the sauerkraut. Melt 4 tbsps of butter in a skillet. Add a medium diced onion, cooking around 3 minutes until translucent. Add the sauerkraut and a tsp of sugar. Mix well and cook until lightly browned. Stir prepared sauerkraut mixture in with prepared halušky dumplings. Serve warm.
This recipe conjures up warm feelings of family and tradition. On a recent trip to Slovakia with my mom, we enjoyed many evenings dining in cozy kolibas savoring this dish along with other traditional Slovak meals.
One thing is for sure, this is cooking with love! Dobrú chut’!
(If you were to add bacon or a faux meat topping—there’s a photo reference above!)
Want to find other delicious foods from around the world to make? Check out these recipes!