Thursday, 2 August 2012

I fight my demons, vol. 4

Knödel or semmel knödel (Germany and Austria), knedlík (Czech Republic) or knedel (Poland). This round, poached potato or bread dumpling (made without yeast) was giving me a right headache for a long time. I love this kind of food, not so keen on making it though. I was afraid something will go wrong, as I only had a general directions from one of my knedel guru I met on internet culinary forum. It probably took me more than two years to prepare mentally before I got round to make my own. Silly me. This wasn't difficult at all. The main thing is not to make the dough too wet, because it will be difficult to form the dumplings and adding more flour will make them too dense and unpleasant. These are even more delicious when reheated next day.

So my next culinary demon is officially defeated now and bread dumplings are going to be on my menu more often.  I am sorry about not posting an exact recipe for the bread knödel, you have to work your own quantities, as they may vary - depending on what bread you use. I only give you general directions for the dumplings but exact recipes for my pork goulash and beets that work so well with knedel

So you definitely need some stale bread, preferably rustic baguette or some good quality crusty bread. No cotton wool like sliced supermarket bread - forget about it! I used three ciabatta rolls and one large white homemade bread rolls - all 2-3 days old. Dice the bread and place in a bowl. Fry one diced onion in a little butter until soft. Add to the bread together with approximately one cup of milk mixed with two eggs, add lots of chopped fresh parsley, season with salt and pepper, optionally add some dried marjoram. Mix it with your hands, leave it to soak for about 30 minutes. Next add 2-3 tbsp of all purpose flour and  mix again with your hands. If you found the mixture too loose and too wet to form the dumplings add some breadcrumbs or some more diced bread - never add more flour. I ended up with 16 dumplings of a size roughly about a tennis ball.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and using wet hands form dumplings about size of a tennis ball and add to the boiling water. Don't shake the pan, leave it, until they start to flow on the surface. From this moment boil them for about 10-12 minutes, then remove with slotted spoon. The bigger dumplings are the longer you have to cook them.

We had them with simple pork goulash and some beets cooked with orange juice. If you are not afraid of gherkins in salty brine called ogórki kiszone (as some people are, as they think they too sour or even gone off), popular in Central and Eastern Europe give them a go with dumplings and meat - they work perfectly well together. 

Pork shoulder goulash 

Serves 4

3 tbsp sunflower oil
about 800g diced pork shoulder
few tbsp all purpose flour
some salt
some freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 
3 tbsp sweet paprika
pinch of chilli powder
about  800ml vegetable or chicken stock, or lager or water
2 anchovies (optionally, I used them, because I had some leftovers)
small handful of dried marjoram

Place flour with some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the meat and shake so it is covered with flour. Shake the excess of the flour and fry the meat in batches in a pan with sunflower oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, do it in 3-4 batches. Remove the meat from a pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a pan and add the onion. Fry for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for minute or so. Next add the paprika and the chilli and fry for a minute or so before adding the meat and any juices released when it was resting. Stir, add anchovies if used, stock or lager, marjoram, bring to the boil, low the heat to simmer, cover and cook fro about 1 hour.

Beetroots (roasted and finished with orange juice)

Serves 2

4-5 medium beets, washed and unpeeled
1 tbsp sunflower oil
freshly ground black pepper
juice of one fresh orange 
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
1 tbsp butter

Heat the oven to 180 C. Place beets onto a baking tray lined with some kitchen foil, drizzle with sunflower oil, sprinkle with salt and roast until soft. Remove from the oven, leave it to cool down slightly, then peel and grate on a coarse grater.

Heat the orange juice in a pan and boil until slightly reduced. Add the grated beets, butter, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.

Serve dumplings with goulash and beets on the side sprinkled with some chopped fresh parsley. To reheat the dumplings next day simply add them to the gravy and simmer for 5 minutes, or slice and fry in a pan with some butter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!