Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cozy Eats: Semmelknoedel

Sooooo. I may have been a tad optimistic about Spring's arrival in my last post.

We've had quite a bit of snow lately.

As in lots.

For me March is when Spring really works its magic. In Northern California everything is blossoming, the air is fragrant, the sun shines brighter and everyone trades their coats and boots for knee-skimming dresses and strappy sandals. As you can imagine it's been an adjustment :)

So while my friends and family back home have been enjoying the glorious spring weather I've still been in hibernation mode. Hearty winter dishes are certainly in play here and that's why I turned to Semmelknoedel.

 Semmelknoedel waiting for their steam bath!

You may have heard of Knoedel, a traditional dumpling made from potatoes that you can probably find at any German pub...erm..well anywhere. It was my first taste of "German" cuisine- you could call it my gateway food if you like- and I loved them.

My boyfriend, and every other German I've ever met, use a boxed variety. They're tasty, easy and fast. What's not to like? I however, in my normal capacity, wanted a bit more. I didn't just want to open a box, pop the little knoedels into boiling water and 10 minutes later have dinner on the table. I wanted to make them from scratch.

Also though the traditional Knoedel is made with potato, I had more of a hankering for Semmelknoedel: it's the same idea but instead of using potato you use day old bread. Good idea right? I think they have more flavor and a better texture than their potato siblings. What surprised me though was how easy they are to make. There's no reason to buy the boxed version! These are so much better. Trust me.

recipe adapted from Original GU Rezept

6 day old whole grain rolls
1 cup milk (use any milk of your choice except non-fat)
1/2 c parsley, chopped
1 yellow onion, minced
1 T butter, melted
1 t nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
3 eggs
1 t lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

Makes about 15 Semmelknoedel

1. Roughly chop the rolls into small cubes. Place in a medium sized bowl and pour the milk over the bread. Allow to sit for 15-30 minutes, just until all the milk is absorbed and the bread has softened.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted add the onions and sauté until they have softened completely but have not yet started to brown. Remove from heat.
3.  Bring a pot of water to a simmer. While this is happening add the eggs, parsley, onion, nutmeg, lemon zest and salt and pepper to the bread mixture. Using your hands gently mix everything together. Don't over mix just gently, massage if you will, the bread so that all the ingredients form one mass.
4. With clean hands form little balls (about the size of a golf ball) and set aside. Using a spoon add the Semmelknoedel to the simmering water in two batches. Cook for 20 minutes turning the Semmelknoedel every few minutes.
5. Eat alone with lots of cracked pepper and a pat of butter or as a side to any main course. If you're feeling like a German feast serve with a beef stew- like goulash- (pictured above) and red cabbage.
Guten Appetit!

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