Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cooking Around the World: Kugelis {Lithuania}

We're moving forward in our Cooking Around the World Adventure, traveling to Lithuania by tabletop for dinner tonight. While I toyed with the idea of making Bulvinial Blynai, Lithuanian potato pancakes, potato pancakes are generally met with wrinkled noses and the admonition, "Mom, you know that potato pancakes are not our favorite." Yeah, I know. So, to avoid, that interchange altogether, I opted for Lithuanian's national dish: Kugelis, potato pudding.


Traditionally served with sour cream, lignonberry sauce, and more bacon bits, I swapped out the lignonberry for some fresh rhubarb sauce I had made.

I used lots and lots of culinary license with this. How can you go wrong with potatoes, bacon, and eggs, right? So, my proportions might be "all wrong" for a traditional kugelis, but it was delicious! And Dylan, my kitchen elf of the evening, helped me out with all the grating.

3 potatoes, grated
1 onion, diced
1 pound applewood smoked bacon, diced
6 eggs
1/2 C organic whole milk
1 C white whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Reserve 2 T of bacon for garnish. In a large, flat-bottom pan cook your onion and bacon until the bacon is cooked through and the onion caramelized. In a separate pan, cook the remaining bacon till it's crispy. Grate the potatoes and stick in salted water to keep it from oxidizing.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together to form a batter. Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish. add in the potatoes and bacon-onion mix. Cover the dish with foil and bake, covered, for appoximately an hour - or until the pudding is firm. Remove the foil and bake until the top is golden brown, approximately another 15-20 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of rhubarb sauce, and a sprinkling of crisped bacon. This got a thumb's up from Riley!







A bit more about the country...


The colors on Lithuanian's flag are yellow, green, and red. The yellow stripe represents the sun, Lithuania's wheat fields and prosperity; the green symbolizes the country's forests, flora and hope; and the red stands for the blood spilled for independence, courage and the people's love and loyalty for Lithuania.

Fun Facts About Lithuania
  • The official name of Lithuania is ‘The Republic of Lithuania’.
  • Lithuania is situated in Eastern Europe, between Latvia and Russia.
  • The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian. However, you will find majority of the people also speak Russian and English.
  • Lithuania is about the same size as West Virginia.
  • Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be converted to Christianity. Before Christianity, the country’s religion was ‘Romuva’.
  • Lithuania had only one king during the royal times, King Mindaugas.
  • The first publishing house in Lithuania was founded in Vilnius, in 1522, and the first Lithuanian Book was published in 1547.
  • Lithuania was the first Soviet republic to declare independence from the USSR.
  • Basketball is the most popular sport in Lithuania.
  • The first railway network in Lithuania was established the 19th century, that connected Warsaw and Saint Petersburg.
  • Bread and salt are important to Lithuanians. Lithuanians welcome important guests.
These Global Table Ambassadors are signing off for now. We'll be heading to Luxemborg to wrap up the L countries of the world. Movin' on...

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