Walt Gach's Slovak Bobalki With Sauerkraut Recipe

Michael Brauner / Getty Images
  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings Savory Bobalki
Ratings (17)

Bobalki (also spelled bobalky) are Slovak balls of dough that can be eaten with honey and poppy seeds as a dessert or as a savory dish with onion and sauerkraut (as in this recipe), usually for meatless Christmas Eve dinners.

I had a delightful email from Walt Gach of Parma, Ohio, telling me about his Polish / Slovak Christmas Eve dinner (breaded fried fish, cauliflower Polonaise, creamed mushrooms and poppy seed rolls) and this savory version of bobalki. It can be made with homemade bread dough but purchased bread dough will work, too, and is a nice shortcut.

Here’s what he had to say: “[The bobalki] I make are … somewhat rustic in nature. … [T]his was not completely ‘handed down’ to me, but it is a childhood memory. It fills the whole house with a wonderful scent. The flavors all seem typically Eastern European / Slavic in nature.”

What You'll Need

  • For the Sauerkraut:
  • 1/2 cup water (or sauerkraut liquid)
  • 1 pound sauerkraut
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped garlic to taste
  • Caraway seeds to taste
  • For the Dough Balls:
  • 12-16 ounces homemade bread dough (or 1 tube of store-bought Crusty French Loaf dough)

How to Make It

  1. To make the sauerkraut: Combine water or sauerkraut liquid, 1 pound sauerkraut, onion, salt and pepper, and garlic in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost gone. Add caraway seeds, stir, cover, and turn off heat.
  2. To make the dough balls: Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Cut dough into manageable pieces and roll as if making breadsticks, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut into 1 inch-long chunks and roll into balls. Repeat with remaining dough.
  1. Bake balls until golden brown on top and the dough balls feel somewhat “stiff” when squeezed. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. When ready to serve, reheat sauerkraut mixture until it just begins to produce steam. Add the baked dough balls and mix thoroughly. Cover, turn off heat, let stand 2-3 minutes, and serve immediately.

Note: At this point, if not being served in the context of a meatless Christmas Eve dinner, all this needs is some kiełbasa, and perhaps some good mustard.