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Christmas holiday fare - dumplings, potato

 

t=teaspoon    T=tablespoon 

 

These recipes are for your personal use only and may not be added in any form to archives or other works. 

 

German Potato Dumplings-a guide to the basic recipe with tips

A basic recipe, these are quick as the potatoes should be cooked and riced (a hand cranked sieve) the day before.  Or you can mash them and then rub through a corase sieve.  The secret to these is never to let the water boil; it must just barely simmer.  And to add just enough flour so that the dough holds together and is no longer sticky yet not heavy.  These are wonderful as a change from normal potato fare and are delicious with any sauce. 

 

Don't be discouraged about the long text which takes more than the actual effort involved.  Yes, really.  Ah, but they are so well worth it!  (There are, by the way many, many dumpling variations and recipes!)

serves 4 generously or 6


1 k. mealy cooking potatoes (not the sort for salad)
150 g. flour, eventually more (or 100 g. flour, 50 g. potato flour)
1 sm. onion
1 T. butter
2 sm. eggs (or 1 med. plus 1 egg yolk)

1/8 t. fresh grated nutmeg
1 t. salt

 

Tip:  use older potatoes that are a medium to large and never the small ones.

Boil the potatoes in the skin, drain and allow to cool enough to peel.  Press through a sieve or use a ricer (easier).  (At this point you can refrigerate them until the next day, but allow to come to room temperature before continuing.)  

Mince the onion and sauté in the melted butter until soft and transparent.  Mix together with the beaten eggs, nutmeg, salt and blend into the potato.   Add the potato starch (flour) if using first, then enough flour until the mass comes cleanly away from the bowl and is no longer sticky - eventually adding a little more flour as needed.  Knead the dough for several minutes.  

 

Now make a test dumpling (which even experienced cooks do because potato starch content can vary): 

With floured hands, form a compact ball that will fit your hands (approximately tennis ball size or a bit smaller).  Sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour into an empty bowl, add the dumpling and rotate the bowl quickly to coat evenly. (Some cooks wet their hands, Mama and the rest of my family flour the hands.  :>)

 

Drop into gently boiling salted (1 heaping tablespoon of salt) water and immediately drop the heat to low (another trick is to add a small glass of water to drop the heat).  Now the water must just simmer (bubbles just breaking surface).  After 15-20 minutes or when it rises to the surface, it is done.  If it didn't fall apart, all was perfect!  (Small dumplings will come up quicker, larger will need the full 20 minutes).

The dumplings will fall apart if the water is boiling, or if the water was too cool. If the water was just right, and it fell apart, then you need more flour in the potato mass.  In this case, add a little more until the mass does not stick to the bowl. 

Now you can continue with the rest, forming 11-12 equally shaped balls and set aside.  Add several tablespoons of flour in a wide bowl, add three dumplings and rotate the bowl quickly to coat them.  Do a few more until you have 5-6 that will fit into the pot without crowding them.

 

Tip:  roll a long 'log' and cut into equal pieces.  Shape these into the balls.  This will ensure that the dumplings are uniform.  ;>)

Drop into gently boiling salted (1 heaping tablespoon of salt) water and immediately drop the heat to low (another trick is to add a small glass of water to drop the heat).  Now the water must simmer (bubbles just breaking surface).  After 15-20 minutes or when it rises to the surface, it is done.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a warmed, slightly buttered, wide bowl.  Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.  (Usually your roast is resting outside of the oven anyway...be sure to turn it off before putting in the dumplings!)

 

Tip: place an inverted saucer into the serving bowl.  This will prevent the dumplings from resting in draining water and will keep them from crowding each other.

 

Tip:  do not lid the pot and do not crowd; use a large enough pot, preferably a wide one that is deep enough.  (I usually cook no more than 5 or 6 at a time, dropping in the rest just as I serve the meal so that requests for another will be hot.  You can, however cook them and keep them in a warm oven until all are done before serving.)  Remove with a slotted spoon to a warm, buttered serving bowl and keep warm in oven.

Serve and suggest to your guest to cut it once in the middle.  Serve a little of the sauce.

 

Leftover dumplings:  are a favourite in Germany and Austria where we cut leftover dumplings into thick slices and fry them in butter.  Done this way, and if they were made without onion, they can be sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar, drizzled with a little vanilla sauce (or not) and served as a warm dessert. 

 

Variation:  a common variation that makes for a tasty surprise, is to add one or two croutons (dried bread cubes fried in a little butter) into the middle of a dumpling.  The practical reason for this is that the crouton absorbs any excess moisture from the middle, ensuring that the dumpling will be finished through!  Another festive variation is to place prunes into the middle of the dumpling.  The prunes must be without the stone and it is a good idea to use small ones and have them warmed.  I have also used prunes which I have marinated in spiced rum for this and served the dumplings with the Christmas goose or other dish. 

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