My husband and I decided on cooking a meal together once a month. It came about both of us wanting to get healthier but also enjoying those great meals once in a while. Spending time together is of course a very big part of this too.
He had been craving Rotkohl (red kraut) and duck breast so I decided I would make the second side dish – dumplings! They are called Serviettenknödel (napkin-dumplings) because the mixture is normally rolled and cooked in a napkin. But I used the more common method now of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. This is a recipe for two people but I found it can actually feed about four. This was the first time I made this so I didn’t want to modify the recipe yet. Expect it will be a bit higher in calories and fat than usual.
- 3 pretzel rolls
- 1 white bread roll
- 1 small onion
- 50g bacon
- 1 tbsp butter
- 100ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg – or to taste
- 1 tsp marjoram
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Dice the bread rolls into small pieces and combine together in a large bowl. Transfer half of the bread pieces onto a baking sheet and drop small pieces of the butter over the bread. Place in the oven to roast for 10-15 minutes, tossing once or twice to coat them with the melted butter.
- While the bread is roasting, chop the onion finely and roughly dice the bacon strips. Heat a frying pan on high and fry the bacon until browned. You don’t need additional fat for this. Add the chopped onion and fry with the bacon pieces for a couple of minutes. Add the marjoram, stir for another minute or two, turn off the heat and place to the side.
- Warm the milk in the microwave (do not boil). Add the onion-bacon mixture into the bowl with the second half of the bread pieces and then add the warm milk. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Chop the parsley. Take out the roasted bread from the oven and add them to the bowl with the other ingredients. Add the eggs, parsley, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Combine together well.
- Take a large sauce pan and pour in 2-3 liters of water. Bring to the boil as you roll the Knödel.
- Cut two equal sized sheets of aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Place a piece of aluminum foil mat side up on your working space. Place an equal sized piece of plastic wrap on top. If you do not wish to use plastic wrap, brush the aluminum foil with a generous amount of melted butter. It will prevent it from sticking. Make sure you are brushing on the mat side or else they will taste metallic. Or use the traditional method and use cloth napkins! But you will need some thick string to tie both ends after you roll it.
- Place half the Knödel mixture on the edge of the foil closest to you and shape it into a sausage-like mound. Roll it carefully but don’t press it too hard or the mixture will expand to the outside edges. You want this to fit inside your sauce pan so be mindful of the length you end up with. When you finish rolling it, take the ends and seal the sides by pinching and rolling to opposite directions-like candy wrap. While you have a hold of both sides press towards the center to give it a gentle squeeze and shorten the length a bit. Repeat the process with the remaining mixture. (These can be made a day or two in advance of your meal. So if you aren’t eating them today, place them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.)
- When the water has boiled, lower the heat, add the rolled Knödel and submerge them in the water carefully. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if you see the aluminum foil has turned black after this time. I first thought I had burned them but it turns out they were just fine! You should find them floating and that is your signal they are done.
- Take out the rolls from the water, unwrap and slice into equal size pieces.
Lastly, fry them in a little butter and they are ready to serve! They only need a couple minutes on either side to brown. I found these to be very delicious, specially with the duck, Rotkohl and the port wine sauce my husband made with the duck fat.
It was an extremely delicious meal. I don’t even want to think about the calorie bomb this was but it was definitely worth all the effort. I hope you decide to try these and pair them with any delicious sauce of your choice.