Eastern Europeans are big on their dumplings. They are called gombóc in Hungarian and made of only boiled potatoes, flour and eggs.

The traditional dumplings are filled with plums rolled in cinamon. They can make a nice dinner or lunch but I haven’t managed to convince my husband that you really can have sweets for main dish. 🙂 The solution is to have dumplings filled with meat, of course. And as regards the plum dumplings… I can indulge in them when he has something else, preferably meaty, to eat… or when eating with other Hungarians, haha.

The plum dumplings can be eaten as dessert, as a main dish or side dish. The dough is made with mashed potatoes. Some recipes use eggs in the dough, some flour. The dough is flattened out and cut into squares. The plums are inserted inside the dumplings by hand.

This recipe is for dumplings filled with meat but I promise to share the recipe for the famous Hungarian plum dumplings soon, I just need to take some photos next time I make them. 😉

I love making dumplings because they freeze perfectly. I always make plenty and pop half of them in the freezer instead of the boiling water so next time I want a quick meal I just drop the frozen dumplings in the boiling water and cook until they start floating on the surface. Even from frozen they don’t take too long to cook and can be served in less than half an hour if you make sure the cooking water is boiling. You have to turn up the gas after dropping in the frozen dumplings because they cool the water down and it’s required to bring the water back to boiling as fast as possible.

Leaving the filling out and forming smaller dumplings can make a delicious dumpling soup as well. Traditionally when we have plum dumplings for lunch the starter is dumpling soup which is salty and of course, contains paprika as well. 🙂 Yes, for lunch… because we Hungarians consider lunch the main meal of the day and usually have a bowl of some sort of soup followed by a big portion of main (preferably meat) and finished with something sweet like a piece of cake. Mmmmm, I’m getting hungry already. 😀 Dinner is light. Traditionally. Nowadays thanks to our modern busy lifestyle we don’t have time for lengthy lunch and we have a big meal in the evening when the family is gathered together.

Ok, now back to my meaty dumplings. 😉

Hungarian dumplings

Potato dumplings filled with meat cut in half with tomato sauce

Ingredients:

For the dumplings:

  • 600 g potatoes, washed with skin on
  • 200 g flour + extra to flour the rolling board and your hands
  • 2 eggs

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 300 g mince (could be anything, beef, pork or poultry)
  • marjoram, salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour

Tools: 

  • a big pot for cooking the potatoes and later the dumplings
  • a sauce pan/pot for the mince
  • potato masher
  • rolling board
  • rolling pin – optional
  • a knife to cut the dough – optional
  • small spoon to heap the filling onto the dough
  • a big spoon to lift out the ready dumplings

Method:

Serving: 15 dumplings
Preparation: rolling the dough and forming and filling the dumplings can take about 30-40 minutes.
Cooking time: 10 minutes for the dumplings and 35-40 minutes for the meat filling

  1. Put the whole potatoes with skin on in boiling water and cook until they feel soft when pricking with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil and fry the onion for 5-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like them. I like my onions very soft so I fry them for a long time adding little water to prevent them from burning.
  3. Add the mince and brown throughout. Then season with salt and pepper. You can add some marjoram and paprika as well, about half a teaspoonful. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for half an hour.
  4. Meanwhile the potatoes are done so remove them from the pan, peel and mash with a potato masher. Let it cool.
  5. When the meat is done and hardly any juice is left, add 2 tbsp flour and stir in the meat. If needed you can add a little water to make it creamier. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  6. Add the flour and the eggs to the cooled mashed potato and knead well with lightly floured hands.
    Kneading dough for dumplings by hand.
  7. Lightly flour the rolling board and pin and roll out the dough into a flat, about half a centimeter thick sheet and cut out 10 cm x 10 cm squares.
    Alternatively if you don’t feel like rolling or you don’t have a rolling pin just divide the dough into 15 equal size balls. Then using your hands press them down into flatter squares/circles about one centimeter thick.
    Be prepared that your hands will get very sticky so  flour them well as often as you need and keep the flour bin handy. 😉 If the board starts to stick sprinkle little flour on it as well.
    Forming dumpling base from the dough on the lightly floured rolling board.
  8. Spoon little heaps of meat in the middle of the cut out squares with a small spoon.
    Spooning heaps of mince on the dumpling base.
  9. Fold the edges of the squares to cover the meat and form the dumplings one by one with your hands. You can keep the dumplings on the board but don’t forget to lightly flour the board first, otherwise your well shaped dumplings will stick to the board and would be difficult to pick them up without ruining their shape.
    Forming balls from the dough while covering the mince filling Dumplings lined up ready to be thrown in boiling water
  10. Add the formed dumplings into boiling water. Use your biggest pot and plenty water to leave room for the dumplings to rise to the surface when they are cooked. If you don’t have a big enough pot you can use a smaller one and cook the dumplings in batches. In my pot I could fit only 5 at a time so have to have 3 rounds to cook them all. They take only 10 minutes to cook and as soon as you can see them floating on the surface you can get them out with a big spoon, carefully, not to pinch a hole into them.

Serve with a sauce of your liking. We usually have them with tomato sauce made of chopped tomatoes and seasoned with basil. They are very nice with mushroom sauce as well.

What sauce do you think would go well with the dumplings?

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