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Knoephla!


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#1 mskerr

mskerr
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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

I have never had a proper bowl of knoephla, but read about it recently during a web search of "North Dakota cuisine." ND is often the butt of jokes, but when I finally went there (I had been looking forward to it for a long time), I had excellent food. Meat and potatoes comfort food - yum.

I started making my first batch of knoephla yesterday, from a composite of recipes - just sweated a heap of mirepoix in butter, added diced potatoes and homemade easy chicken stock (a la Ruhlman - just simmer some chicken pieces, an onion, and carrot for a few hours). Meant to finish it with the cream and dumplings for lunch today, as we were already pretty full last night, but am glad to report that everyone dived into it last night as is, with some cream added. It was damn tasty!

Does anyone have a specific knoephla recipe or tips/tricks? I can see this becoming a regular dish at our house, as my partner loves simple food with potatoes. And I read that you can throw in coleslaw mix as well - we like our cabbage.

Cheers!

#2 Darcie B

Darcie B
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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:44 PM

As someone who was raised in North Dakota to German descendents (my mom didn't speak English until she went to school), let me be the first to congratulate you on your knoephla discovery. Knoephla is the term for the dumplings, so if you didn't have dumplings in the broth you just had potato soup.

For my family, key to the knoephla soup experience is the addition of celery leaves to the soup along chopped celery and onion. We didn't use carrots, but I see no reason not to use them. Second, when simmering the soup to cook the potatoes, add several whole allspice and a couple of bay leaves. Germans don't leave home without those two ingredients. Also a tradition in my family is the use of Watkins chicken base, but a good homemade stock obviates the need for that much salt and MSG.

As for the dumplings, my grandmother's recipe results in great dumplings, but only on the second day (they need an overnight rest in the broth to properly plump). I'm printing my grandmother's knoephla soup recipe below, but I've recently discovered a way to get lighter, fluffier dumplings right off the bat. The recipe is called schwemmkloesse, and it's basically pate a choux with a small twist. You separate the eggs and add the yolks to the flour/water/butter mixture, then beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold them in. This batter is then piped right into the simmering soup for light as air dumplings. If you use the schwemmkloesse dumplings, you'll need to reduce the amount of liquid in the soup.

But without further ado, here is the recipe for Knoephla Soup from my grandmother, Bertha Schwind (with a name like that you know it's authentic). It seems like a lot of broth but the emphasis is on the dumplings, which will eventually soak up most of the liquid. You'll be left with a thick soup. It's much better the second day if you use the traditional dumpling recipe.

For soup:
1/4 cup chopped celery w/some leaves
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons butter
2 large russet or red potatoes, small dice or grated
1 quart water and 1/4 cup chicken base
(or 1 quart quality chicken stock)
1 quart milk
Bay leaves & allspice to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter or heavy cream

For knoephla:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Milk to form stiff dough

Saute celery and onion in butter. Add potatoes, water with chicken base (or chicken broth), and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add bay leaves and allspice. Simmer until potatoes are nearly tender.

While potatoes are simmering, combine flour, oil eggs, salt and enough milk to make a stiff dough. Cut this dough into boiling water with 2 Tbsp. oil in it. Cook until all dumplings float. Add drained dumplings to soup broth. Finish with butter or heavy cream.
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