Saturday, 9 January 2010 by kinakoJam
Tis the season for snow, flight delays and eurostar trains getting stuck in the chunnel due to blizzard convection currents.
The time of year when it's comforting to eat warm and stodgy fare; when you feel you have a valid excuse to pad yourself with porridge for breakfast (rice or oat) and dumplings for dinner.
There are quite a few German dumpling variations: from plum-sized klöse, made from potato (a nice side next to roasted meats) - through to dampfnudeln desserts, which are similar to a Bao Zi steamed bun, but with a fruit compote or warm vanilla custard on the side.
Knödel are large savoury boiled dumplings, made from potato or bread, and if you have leftovers, they can be served in grilled slices. Golden chanterelle mushrooms make an especially delicious sauce with which to augment a fat Knödel.
I admit that snow or shine, sober or drunk, I'm partial to any sort of dumpling. It's possible that in place of a heart, I have a round, damp, chewy lump of dough.
If you have similar dumpling sentiments, you might like to try this easy-to-make recipe for Bavarian-style bread-based dumplings.
Spinach & Cheese Semmel-Knödel (adapted from a recipe in Landlust magazine)
400g bread (we used a mix of white and a light rye. it should be a reasonably delicious and medium-dense sort of bread: no tip top, and no gritty multigrain)
1 onion & 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
300 g blanched spinach (drained & roughly chopped)
200 ml milk
200g gouda & 100g Emmental (or a mix of your preference), grated
Salt & pepper
100 g parmesan (optional)
Cut the bread in thin slices and put into a bowl.
Sauté the onion & garlic in a little olive oil until transparent. Add the spinach & sauté one more minute.
Add the milk and heat to luke warm.
Beat the eggs with this mixture and add to the bread. Let rest 15 min.
Add grated cheese + salt & pepper.
Mix with your hands to combine.
Form 12 dumplings of a similar size.
Add to boiling salted water then reduce heat & simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain and if you like, sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Serve with salad, or any kind of spicy stew.
Cheese and spinach can be reduced, or omitted completely for a traditional accompaniment to roasted or braised meat (you'll want to have some kind of gravy or sauce in play).
We ate them in a manner that Erik said was highly unorthodox: with leftover Mexican Chicken Veracruz (baked with tomatoes, cinnamon and jalapeno pickles), and steamed broccoli. Definitely not healthfood - but, served with veg and spiciness, they weren't as rich and heavy as you might expect.