Czech Hopl Popl (Ham, Sauerkraut and Dumpling Mish Mash)

Hopl popl is basically the equivalent of the English words “Mish Mash” and is one of many Czech comfort food meals. Here I used potato gnocchi, but leftover Czech bread or potato dumplings (cubed) can also be used. They are combined with sauerkraut, browned onion, caraway seeds, and whatever flavorful pork product you have on hand. Some sour cream on the top is optional, but tasty. It’s definitely a low cost meal that fills you up. Though it may look quite unhealthful, remember that sauerkraut is a powerhouse of vitamins.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 500 g (1 lb) potato gnocchi or leftover cubed Czech dumplings (potato or even bread dumplings)
  • Fat for frying (butter, oil, bacon fat or even lard)
  • Salt/pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium or large onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 250 g (8 oz), or even more, small smoked fatty ham cubes (or thick bacon)
  • 500 g (1 lb) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 to 1 cup broth (any, but chicken is my go-to) or water plus bouillon
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • Optional: Crisp fried bacon bits and sour cream for topping

Procedure:

If using potato gnocchi, start by boiling them al dente. They can be used immediately in the recipe or chilled for later. If using leftover cooked and chilled Czech dumplings, cube them to size of dice. Cooked and chilled gnocchi and Czech dumplings brown easier in fat than freshly cooked, but pre-browning is optional. If you choose to brown, do so in a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of hot fat, adding some of the caraway seeds and fresh salt/pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt additional fat in the skillet, if needed. Or if using chopped thick bacon as your main meat, you can add it now. Fry the sliced onion until it starts to brown. Add the ham (if using this) and fry until that starts to brown. Add the prepared sauerkraut and caraway seeds, and saute, mixing well into the onion/ham mixture. Add about 1/2 cup broth, then the pre-cooked (and optionally browned) gnocchi or dumpling cubes. Reheat the mixture, adding a bit more broth, if needed.

Serve Hopl popl “as is” or with optional crisp bacon bits and/or sour cream on top.

Don’t forget to enjoy a good beer with this meal!

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