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A dumpling by any name…

LET’S COOK LITHUANIAN
with Dana Siliūnas

While in English any dumpling is a dumpling, in Lithuanian dumplings have many names, depending on their shape,
size, or ingredients. But no matter what you call them – “kleckai, koldūnai, varškėčiai, or virtiniai” – they are all delicious.

BAKED POTATO DUMPLINGS
Kepti bulvių “kleckai”
5 medium p o ta to es
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1 small onion
1/4 lb. butter or margarine
1/2 pt. sweet cream
Boil potatoes with jackets on until done. Cool and peel. Mash; add flour and salt. Roll into strips on floured board; cut diagonally into small diamond shapes. Bake in 400° oven for 30 min­utes. While they are baking, prepare sauce: Dice and fry onion in butter or mar­garine. When onion is tender, add cream. Pour over baked dumplings and serve.

MEAT DUMPLINGS
“Koldūnai”

Filling:
1/2 lb. ground lean beef
1/2 lb. ground lean pork
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
Dough:
2 cups flour
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup water
Sauce:
1/2 lb. bacon
3 Tbsps. butter
2 cups cream or evaporated m ilk

Filling:
Saute chopped onion in but­ter; add to ground meat mixed with egg and spices.
Dough:
Combine ingredients into firm dough. Let stand covered for 1 hour. Divide dough into 3 parts for easier han­dling. Knead each until dough is pliable. Roll out on floured board until thin. Cut in rounds with cookie cutter or glass dipped in flour. Put teaspoon of meat filling in each. Fold over and seal edges. Drop each dumpling gently into salted boiling water; simmer for about 15 min­utes. Lift out dumplings with slotted spoon. Serve with melted butter, sour cream or chopped crispy bacon. Sauce: Fry bacon until crisp. Drain fat from bacon. Crumble. Add butter and cream; blend thoroughly and heat through.

BOILED POTATO DUMPLINGS
Bulvių virtiniai

6 to 7 p o ta to es
1 onion, diced
Salt an d pepper to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
Peel potatoes; grate fine. Strain through clean cloth, squeezing fairly dry. Put in bowl; add onion, egg, flour, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Shape into patties or balls. Drop into boiling salted water; boil 1/2 hour. Remove from heat; let drain. Pour on melted butter, or chop and fry several strips of bacon with some minced onion and pour over dumplings.

COTTAGE CHEESE DUMPLINGS
Varškėčiai

1 lb. dry cottage cheese
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 eggs
C hopped chives or m in t (optional)
5 cups sifted flour
2 cups cold water
1/2 lb. butter or margarine
4 Tbsp. sour cream
Salt to taste
Mix together first 6 ingredients. In separate bowl, make batter of flour and cold water. Flour bread board thorough­ly. Place portion of batter on it (easier to work with smaller quantity). Roll out as for pie dough. With drinking glass dipped in flour, cut dough into rounds. Fill center with large spoonful of cheese mixture. Put another round of dough on top; pinch edges together. Bring salted water to boil in large pot, about x/2 full. Put dumplings in boiling water, boiling only 10 at a time (if overcrowded, dump­ lings will not rise to surface). Boil 15 minutes. Remove from water carefully with slotted spoon or strainer. In large frying pan, melt butter or margarine; turn off heat. Add sour cream and salt; put dumplings in this sauce. Serve hot.

COTTAGE CHEESE SQUARES
Varškės virtiniai

2 lbs. dry cottage cheese
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour (about)
Combine cheese, eggs, cream and salt. Gradually stir in flour, using just enough to make dough stiff enough for knead­ing (try not to use too much flower). Knead well. Roll, not too thin, on floured board. Cut in squares or diamonds. Place several in rapidly boiling water (do not overcrowd). Boil 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve hot with melted but­ter. Leftovers can be reheated in butter.