Need a Comfort Food Fix? Make German Potato Dumplings
German Potato Dumplings--Kartoffelkloesse--are incredible comfort food and actually pretty easy to make. The dumplings are, no surprise, made with potatoes, and they traditionally encase croutons that are first browned in butter. If that hasn't sold you, the dumplings often are drizzled with the the leftover browned butter from the croutons and then sprinkled with more breadcrumbs and sometimes chives and/or parsley. I also sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of my dumplings when I'm not serving them alongside a meat that comes with a savory sauce. Most recipes call for boiling the potatoes you use for the dumplings. Don't bother. Use the microwave to cook the potatoes and then let them cool a bit before peeling them (the skins will slip off easily) and mashing them. Using the microwave will result in a potato that's less soggy than boiling, so you'll need less flour and have a softer, more tender dumpling. These dumplings are incredible comfort food and are just the thing to make your day a little more filling and, hopefully, happier. And if you need something to serve alongside your dumplings, I suggest checking out the recipe on this blog for Bavarian pot roast.
German Potato Dumplings -- Makes 6
4 medium russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2-3 tablespoons of butter
2-4 slices of bread, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus more for the water
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2-4 tablespoons of cooked, crumbled bacon (optional, but really good)
2-3 tablespoons of chopped chives (optional, but really good)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley (optional, but good)
Pierce the potatoes and microwave them for 5-8 minutes or until a knife slips into them easily and they feel tender to the touch. Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them, and then peel them. While the potatoes are cooling, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir them into the butter. Let them cook for 5-6 minutes, continuing to stir them periodically, until the cubes are crunchy. Scrape the croutons, their crumbs, and any of the browned butter that remains out of the saucepan and into a bowl.
Rinse out the pan, fill it with water and, if you want, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt (more if you're into sodium and your cardiologist is okay with it) to the water, and put it back on the stove on medium-high heat. You want to bring the water to a slow simmer.
Put the peeled potatoes into a large bowl and mash them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the eggs and mash/stir them into the potatoes. Add the flour a half cup at a time, stirring it into the dough just until the flour is incorporated. No need to beat the dough hard! When the pot of water is simmering, scoop up a large spoonful of dough, roll it into a ball a little larger than a golf ball, and, with your thumb, make an indentation in the center of the ball. Stuff a couple of croutons into the ball and roll it smooth again to seal in the croutons. Using a large spoon, lower the dumpling into the pot of simmering water (don't toss it in, the water is hot, and splashing boiling water isn't a good idea--trust me!). Repeat the process with the remaining dough, forming 5 more large dumplings and lowering them, one-by-one, into the pot with the simmering water. When the dumplings rise to the top of the water, adjust the heat, if necessary, and continue to simmer the dumplings for 12-15 minutes longer.
Remove the dumplings from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate or platter. Top the dumplings with the remaining croutons/crumbs and whatever browned butter remains. Sprinkle on the bacon, chives, and parsley, if you're using them. Alternatively, serve the dumplings with a savory meat or mushroom sauce. I've also served the dumplings with a mustard sour cream sauce.