The Lion’s Song | Leos’s Bohemian Dumplings

Leos's Bohemian Dumplings inspired by The Lion's Song. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

With spring’s first storms howling outside, I figure this is the perfect time for a hearty dumpling recipe from a story about facing one’s shadows. So before we get to some Austro-Bohemian fusion, let me tell you a bit about The Lion’s Song.

Click here to skip to the recipe for Leos’s Bohemian Dumplings.

The Lion’s Song

The Lion’s Song is an interactive fiction game set in early 20th century Austria. Through narrative storytelling and choices, the game follows the creative struggles of a composer, a painter, and a mathematician. In the first chapter we meet Wilma, a young composer with writer’s block sent to the Alps by her mentor to finish her latest piece. We learn that her mentor and Vienna’s art community consider her a prodigy, the “future of music,” with work that entices and challenges.
Alone in the mountains, surrounded by a days-long terrifying storm, and faced with an unexpected deadline, Wilma’s ears are full of noise, and her mind is paralyzed in silence. She then starts receiving calls from Leos, an innkeeper in Bohemia, testing his phone while working up the courage to call his niece in Vienna

In their conversations, though, she begins to find melodies, harmonies, and tonal diversity in the screeching of the storm, the ticking of the clock, and the kind voice at the other end of the line. As she begins to find inspiration in her fear, she learns to listen to herself, and she writes The Lion’s Song” — a “song of courage, of being yourself and facing the shadows.”

Best Dumplings in Bohemia

When we first meet Leos over the phone, Wilma’s stomach starts grumbling. He laughs when she describes it as the thunder outside. As an innkeeper, he is well acquainted with that sound. He then describes his signature dish: “Best dumplings in all Bohemia, wonderful when they’re fresh out of the pot, with a rich, hearty sauce.”

Leos's Bohemian Dumplings inspired by The Lion's Song. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

Judging from Leos’s description and location, the dumplings he describes are knedlíky, a boiled dumpling made with scraps of bread. He describes it served with a hearty sauce — and he likely means rajska polevka, a sweet tomato sauce spiced with clove and allspice. I decided, though, I wanted to incorporate Wilma into this dish. This story, after all, is about Wilma being true to herself and the friendship she forges with Leos. That’s why I made a red sauce based on Austrian goulash

Austrian goulash typically combines beef with tomato, paprika, onion, and caraway seeds. However, I decided to lighten the dish by leaving out the meat but using the minced sweet onion and beef bone broth as a thickener. Ideally, you would make this dish with sweet Hungarian paprika, but it’s not something commonly found in grocery stores. The flavor is distinctly different than Spanish paprika. That’s why I used a combination of smoked paprika and hot Hungarian paprika

As for the dumplings themselves, they are a wonder if you’ve never made something like them. Knedlíky combines leftover bread with a few staple ingredients and expands half a loaf of bread into two loaf-sized dumplings. I went the traditional route with white bread, though feel free to experiment with rye, whole wheat, or spices. Really, though. Have you ever seen those “grow-your-own-dinosaur-in-water” kits as a kid? It feels like that when you lift the lid of the pot. 

I mean, look at them:

Steamed to perfection and served with a hearty sauce, this dish is certainly a comforting presence when March roars in like a Lion’s Song.

Sing for your Supper!

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The printable recipe card and playlist for Leos’s Bohemian Dumplings inspired by The Lion’s Song will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.


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Facing the Shadows

Leos's Bohemian Dumplings inspired by The Lion's Song. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

Leos's Bohemian Dumplings

Serves 4-6.

Equipment: Stovetop, microwave, large saucepan with lid, wide stockpot or dutch oven with lid, microwave-safe measuring cup, mixing bowl, fork, tongs, serrated knife, cutting board, and spatula.


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 slices of white bread, crusts removed and 1/2″ diced
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup beef bone broth
  • 2 lb onions, finely chopped
  • 3 Tb tomato paste
  • 1/2 Tb dried marjoram or oregano
  • 2 Tb smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tb hot Hungarian paprika
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Tb caraway seeds


Make the sauce:
  1. Preheat the saucepan on the stovetop over medium-high heat over butter. Once the butter melts, add the onion and stir cook for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Stir in the tomato paste, caraway seed, and marjoram. Cook for 45 seconds, then stir in the paprika.
  3. Immediately pour in a cup of beef broth and stir until smooth. Let simmer for 10 minutes while making the dumpings.
  4. Pour in the remaining broth and bone broth, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Let simmer until the dumplings are finished.
Make the dumplings:
  1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds on HIGH in the microwave, then stir in sugar and yeast. Let sit at least 5 minutes to proof.
  2. Blend the flour and salt in a mixing bowl with a fork, then pour in the beaten egg and milk. Mix with the fork to combine. Then fold in the cubed bread with a spatula. 
  3. Divide the dough in half and roll it into logs no longer than 4-inches. Let rise for 30 minutes while bringing a pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Lower the dumplings into the water with tongs and cover the pot. Boil for 15 minutes, turn the dumplings over, and boil covered for 5 minutes. Transfer the dumplings to a cutting board.
  5. Slice the dumplings 1/2-inch thick and serve with the sauce.

The Gluttonous Geek