Vilnius

Lithuanian flavours: Cepelinai

25 Feb 2020
If like many people, you just can’t get enough of Lithuania’s potato-based cuisine, you no longer have to wait for your next trip to Vilnius. Ramūnas Giraitis (see photo), the head chef of the Lithuanian restaurant chain Etno Dvaras, has generously sent us his own recipe for a local classic – cepelinai, or zeppelins. Photos courtesy of Etno Dvaras.

Cepelinai (zeppelins) with meat  
1 pot (8 - 9 pieces for 4 persons)
• 350g boiled, unpeeled potatoes
• 3kg of potatoes
• 15g of salt
• 50g of starch
For the meat stuffing:
• 400g minced pork
• 1/2 an onion, very finely chopped and fried with a little oil
• Salt, pepper and marjoram (to taste)

Cool the boiled potatoes slightly and peel them. Grind in a meat grinder or crush very well. Set aside to cool (you can leave it overnight). Grate potatoes with a fine grater. Place the grated mass in a bag or gauze and press over a large bowl until the grated mass is dry (do not squeeze completely) yet, slightly moist, but not wet or dripping). Let the starch from the squeezed potato juice settle for a minute, then slowly drain the juice and leave the starch in the bottom of the bowl. Add the starch to the pressed, grated potato and ground boiled potatoes. Knead the whole mix by hand. Season with salt. Bring a large pot (7 - 10 litres) of water to boil and add salt. When the water boils add the starch dissolved in cold water (50g starch and 100g water) and wait for the water to boil again. Stir in the meat and fried onions and add salt, pepper and the entire mix. Make 50 - 70g meatballs from the meat filling. Take a handful of potato mass (150 - 170g) and flatten to make a circular patty about 1cm thick. Add the meat filling and cover the filling with potato pulp to form an elongated semi-finished product. Carefully lower the zeppelins one by one into the slowly boiling starch water. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes or until the meat filling is completely cooked through. The pot should be gently stirred from time to time to ensure that the zeppelins don’t stick to one another or the pot. Serve with cracklings sauce and sour cream.
 

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