Balkan The Balkan Cookbook

Potato Soufflé with Cheese

This hors d’oeuvres or side dish from Inge Kramarz’s 1972 The Balkan Cookbook is delightful comfort that combines potatoes, cheese, smoked bacon, and dill. In its original language of Yugoslavian/Croatian, it is listed as “musaka od krumpira” or ‘potato moussaka’. A moussaka being a kind of European casserole dish similar to a shepherd’s pie or eggplant parmigiana.

Attribute to the former country of Yugoslavia in the book, there is a secondary point of origin listed as Dalmatia which narrows the historical range of the dish. Dalmatia being a coastal region of Croatia that hugs the eastern shore beside the Adriatic sea. I believe that this dish was supposed to cook down into a kind of cake, however in my particular rendition of the dish that didn’t quite materialize. Probably due to the relatively brief 15-20 minute cooking time suggested. So, if you would like it to be more a uniform cake consistency, just up the cooking time to something more like 45 minutes to an hour. Another note is that the original recipe called for “sheep’s cheese”. From what I can gather this is probably a type of Balkan cheese sometimes referred to as ‘kaimak’ that is probably of a similar consistency to chevre. For this dish, I decided to go with crème fraiche and was quite content to do so.

Ingredients

2 lbs potatoes
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1/2 lb crème fraiche
1/4 lb smoked bacon
1 bunch of dill, chopped

Directions

  1. Peel potatoes, slice into fairly thick slices and then boil in salted water until tender.
  2. Grease a casserole dish with some of the butter and coat it in half the bread crumbs.
  3. Using the remaining butter, cook the crème fraiche until simmering.
  4. Chop the bacon and fry until crisp.
  5. Combine all the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour depending on desired consistency.