Dumplings are a favorite food throughout Germany. Known as Klösse in Western and Northern Germany, Knödel in South-Eastern Germany, and “Kloβe” sporadically throughout the country, German potato dumplings are formed into a ball-shape, then boiled or steamed in salted water. They can be served in soups, to provide texture and bulk; as a side dish, in place of potatoes; as a hearty main course; or as a dessert, made sweet with sugar and fruits. There are many varieties of dumplings that are common in Germany, some stuffed with bread cubes, others with fruit or meat.
The dumplings in this recipe are stuffed with home-made croutons and are topped with crunchy bread crumbs. I like to serve these German dumplings along size a large plate of creamy and flavorful Jägerschnitzel.
Servings: 15-20 dumplings
3 slices white or sourdough bread
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds russet potatoes
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, or 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Cut the crusts off of the bread, then cut the bread into 1/2 inch squares. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bread to the skillet and fry in the butter and oil mixture until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to dry.
Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add potatoes, unpeeled, and boil until fork tender (approximately 30 minutes). Peel the potatoes while they are still warm.
Cut the potatoes into large pieces. Let cool in refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
Use a potato ricer to rice the potatoes. If you do not have a potato ricer, coarsely mash the potatoes.
In a bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, parsley, nutmeg, and pepper, and mix well. Add this to the mashed or riced potatoes. Use your hands to knead the mixture in a large bowl until a smooth dough forms. You may add more flour if the dough gets too sticky.
Mix in the egg.
Using floured hands, shape dough into balls, about 1/4 cup each. Insert a bread cube into the top of each dumpling and ensure it is entirely enclosed in the dumpling.
Bring a very large, wide, pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop dumplings into the boiling water. Do not overcrowd the pot, and cook the dumplings in batches if necessary.
The dumplings are done as soon as they float. You can test whether the dumpling is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the dumpling. If it comes out clean, they are good to go. If completing this recipe in batches, use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings and keep a damp towel on top of them to keep from drying out. Cover and keep warm.
In a saucepan, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and heat and stir until browned. Add 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and sprinkle over dumplings for serving.