Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Bread Dumplings [Semmelknoedel]


bread dumplings, dumpling, dumplings, knoedel

My husband is half Austrian so no wonder that every now and then he craves for some great, traditional Austrian food. Dumplings are a good example of that cuisine although they are also extremely popular in Czech, Slovakia and Hungary. A few years ago my husband’s godmother taught me how to make Serviettenknoedel – a big bread dumpling that is boiled in a tea towel (hence its name) and then sliced into portions. Although my dumpling tasted great when I made it myself, it unfortunately fell apart, and I guess it does require practice to make it perfectly.

Therefore, individual bread dumplings are a much easier but still a very delicious option. They taste really great with roast pork or duck served with gravy or with a goulash. And although I know dumplings are neither super healthy nor super light, I can assure you they are super delicious. If you worry about your waistline, you can take my approach: I make them only a few times per year. That way we enjoy them tremendously but don’t feel guilty when we have them.

INGREDIENTS (for approx. 18 dumplings):

500g stale baguette or rolls (2-3 days old) cut into 1-2cm cubes,
250-350ml milk,
2 tbsp butter,
1 onion, thinly sliced,
1 tbsp parsley, thinly chopped,
2 eggs,
0.5 tsp salt,
1-2 pinches of ground pepper,
0.5 cup breadcrumbs (they may not be required).

METHOD:
  1. Place the cubes of baguette/rolls in a big bowl.
  2. Warm up the milk till it almost boils, pour 2/3 of it into the bowl, stir and leave for 15 minutes so the baguette soaks in the milk. If after that time the cubes look like they are still very dry, pour the rest of the milk and stir again.
  3. Melt the butter in a small frying pan on a medium heat, add the onion, stir and fry for 3-5 minutes till golden but don’t let the onion burn.
  4. Add to the bowl with soaked cubes the fried onion, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper and mix very well with your hand until very well combined. If the cubes were originally very dry, they will not fall apart completely and that is fine, it is important though that the mixture is well combined.
  5. In a big pot boil plenty of salted water (there should be approx. 8-10cm of water).
  6. With slightly wet hands form a small testing dumpling (if it is too difficult to form it, the mixture may not be hard enough and in this case you will have to add some breadcrumbs and mix it well again) and put it into the boiling water. If the dumpling falls apart, then you will have to add some more breadcrumbs.
  7. Form approx. 18 round dumplings (about 5 cm diameter) from the tested mixture and gently put them to the boiling water (if the pan is not big enough to take all of them in one go, you may have to cook the dumplings in 2 batches.
  8. Cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes. To check if they are cooked through, cut one dumpling in half.

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