German Knephla Soup with made-from-scratch broth

Let me tell you, I’ve always been amazed at people that can make meals from scratch. Somehow, the thought of just throwing stuff together and hoping that it turns out has always terrified me…but that’s not so much the case any longer.

You see, I have four boys – and aside from one on a very special diet – they will eat anything. And lots of anything. Lots and LOTS of anything.

Scooter and his older/younger brothers. He's the one in the football gear.

Scooter and his older/younger brothers. He’s the one in the football gear.

Yesterday I started what was to be supper last night, but Boss Man surprised me by having put something in the oven for supper already. So I saved it for today (which actually made it healthier).

This post is actually two recipes in one, so be sure you read all the way to the end, you don’t want to miss it!

Soup base

  • 1 soup bone (in this case, I used a whole half-smoked turkey, you can use a beef bone, ham bone, chicken, etc – leave the trim meat on it…whatever type of base you want to make)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • celery salt, approx. 1 tsp. (you can also just use 3-4 stalks of celery)
  • couple shakes of pepper (I apparently have inherited my Grandmother’s gift of measurement)
  • 3 bay leaves

Put all together into a stock pot or kettle with water. I filled my kettle about 2/3 full of water. It depends on how strong you want your broth, how much you’re going to need for the final recipe, etc. Turn the temp up to medium and bring it to a boil. Keep it boiling for 30-45 minutes. The longer it cooks, the more flavor you’ll draw out. As the meat starts to fall off, you’ll know when it’s about done.

Getting ready to make my broth.

Getting ready to make my broth.

When the broth is to your flavor desire, take out the bone and discard. I always leave the meat in for my soup. (It usually doesn’t have much flavor left, but adds to the texture.)

Notice how most of the meat has fallen off? I picked a little more off as I was pulling out the bones.

Notice how most of the meat has fallen off? I picked a little more off as I was pulling out the bones.

Warning – chicken will cook faster than a beef or ham bone. You’ll want to be sure to get all the bones out! (Lesson learned the hard way.)

If you’re making soup that day, just add your other ingredients and enjoy! If your soup-making day is a little ways off, place the broth in the fridge and let it cool. If you let it cool first, all the fat will harden at the top, making it easy to skim off.

If you’re soup seems to be lacking a little something, you can easily play with it, by adding a little extra chicken bouillon, beef bouillon, etc.

Now, on to the good part:

Knephla Soup

Knephla soup is simply a dough-based soup. Super easy to make, especially with the broth above.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt (to your taste)
  • package frozen veggies (again, to your taste)
  • 3 chicken breasts, browned and chopped

To make knephla dough, simply add the flour, egg and water and mix until a dough ball forms. You know the dough is done, when it doesn’t stick to the side of your mixer. If the dough is dry (flaky in the bowl), add a touch of water…if it’s wet (sticky mess), add a touch of flour. When adding to the dough, do so in small amounts. It doesn’t take much to get it to just the right consistency.

To the broth above, add in the vegetables (you could also use fresh carrots, celery, potatoes, whatever you’d like…I just happen to have a bag of frozen handy) and the chicken. (I cheated this time and used some chopped ham that we had leftover. The smoked turkey tastes a lot like ham, so it was an easy add in. With the salty ham, I skipped salt in the broth, so that it wasn’t too salty in the end.)

Bring the broth with all your goodies in it to a boil.

To make the actual knephla, tear off a chunk of dough and roll it into a strip. Think about half the width of a paper towel roll. Take your kitchen scissors (or your kids’ scissors…washed) and cut small pieces off the strip, directly into the broth. They may sink right away (unless you have a ton of stuff in your kettle, like veggies, meat, etc.), but they’ll float when the dough has cooked through (about 2-3 minutes). Keep cutting and rolling and cutting and rolling, until all the dough is in your pot.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

German Knephla Soup - No matter how you spell it, it all ends up the same...GONE!

German Knephla Soup – No matter how you spell it, it all ends up the same…GONE!

 

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Kneopfla Hotdish (Knepfla) – German Cooking

I thought I’d kick off this winter-storm weekend with a nice tasty, warm traditional meal.

And bonus points for it being super easy! (Especially with a Kitchenaid! I’m in LOVE!)

Knepfla Hotdish

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. water
  • sausage, ham or meat of your choosing
  • 1/2 pint cream
  • 1 tsp. chicken bouillon

Mix flour, salt, egg and water, until dough ball forms. Cut dough into a kettle of boiling water (I use a kitchen scissors). Boil until done (they will float), about 5-10 minutes. Rinse under cold water.

Yummy, scrumptious deliciousness.

Prepare meat in a skillet (fry the sausage, heat the ham, brown the burger, etc.). Combine 1/2 pint of cream, 1 tsp. chicken bouillon and pepper in a small bowl. Add knepfla to meat and pour cream mixture over the top. Heat through.

It’s yummy, it’s great and it doesn’t take a lot of time.

ENJOY!

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King Arthur Flour meets Grandma Vivian’s Dumplings

I’ve joined a party…and am creating history all at once!

As part of A Latte with Ott, A’s King Arthur flour Iron Chef Challenge, I decided that I would make Brandenburger family history…I would use my Grandma Vivian’s Dumpling recipe. (Mind you, this recipe has never been written down [to my knowledge] and for certain isn’t on the internet.)

This recipe isn’t something you just “throw” together for a quick lunch, but it’s a wonderfully delicious authentically German dish that is requested time and time again at my house. Especially at family gatherings!!!

First of all, you need bread dough…and this is where the King Arthur flour comes in. For those that have been reading my blog for a while, you know that our youngest son has OTC, which limits his protein intake to 10-12 grams per day. Well, it just so happens that King Arthur flour has a product  that is lower in protein! Woohoo!!! And I used this flour for our bread dough (although it’s labeled for wonderfully, delicious and super light pastries, pies, etc.). It worked beautifully!

Anyway, on with the recipe:

Grandma Vivian’s Dumplings

Ingredients –

3 cups flour (I used King Arthur Perfect Pastry flour – only 3 grams of protein per 1/4 cup!)

1 1/2 TBSP. butter

1 cup water

1/4 cup milk

1 package instant dry yeast

1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 TBSP. sugar

1 qt. chicken broth (liquid)

potatoes

2 cups heavy whipping cream (pic shows half and half, which is what I used…but Grandma always used heavy whipping cream…half and half tasted just as good!)

Everything you need!

First, we need a simple loaf of white bread dough. This is a simple, easy loaf recipe…and trust me, if I can make it, anyone can!
Mix together 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Set aside. Then mix together water, milk and butter, heat until hot to touch, but not boiling. (I microwaved for 40 seconds.)

When making this dough, mix together dry ingredients, then mix and heat wet ingredients before combining.

Then, pour your wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a dough-ball is formed. Take the 1/2 cup flour that’s left-over and add as needed to make a smooth dough-ball that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. (I ended up using just about all of the flour this time, but it will vary, depending on your humidity, etc.)

Dough - finished but not raised.

Cover the dough with a cloth for 10 minutes, to let it rest. Then shape into a ball again and let it raise for 1 hour.

Fluffy, yummy dough ball!

Now, we’re ready to make dumplings! Peel and cut your potatoes, enough to fill the bottom of your kettle (4 or 5 quart kettle or dutch oven works wonderfully!).

Enough potatoes to fill the bottom of a kettle, or maybe even a little more!

Add the chicken broth. (I use chicken broth instead of water to boil my potatoes. It adds great flavor!) You can flavor your potatoes if you’d like, with salt, pepper, onions, etc. Whatever you would normally do for boiling potatoes. You won’t be draining any of the liquid.

I use chicken broth instead of water with my potatoes. Yummy!

Heat the potatoes to a boil.

Potatoes are boiling!

Remove the kettle from heat. Punch down the dough. Tear off about quarter-sized bits of dough and layer across the kettle, on top of the water and potatoes.

Pull apart the dough, enough to fill one layer across the potatoes in the kettle.

Dough, completely covering potatoes and ready to cook!

The next part is very important: Place lid on kettle, put it back on medium heat. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID!!! In fact, if your lid does not seal well, or isn’t a very heavy lid, place something on top of your lid…such as:

If your lid isn't heavy enough to make sure there's a seal, set something heavy on top of the lid! Be creative!

Why is this important? The steam from the potatoes and water is cooking the dumplings. If the liquid in the kettle evaporates too quickly, your dough will fall and will be more solid, than light and fluffy. (Grandma would call them “klutzy” when that would happen.) Once you can hear the potatoes boiling again, turn the temp down a bit and simmer. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the “dumplings start talking to you.” (Grandma’s terms) In cooking terms, this means to listen to the kettle and the dumplings are done when you can hear them starting to fry a little bit.
And then lift off the lid and pray…just kidding…it should look something like this:

Dumplings are done!

Next, stir up the dumplings, mixing the dough, the potatoes and whatever liquid is left. Then pour the cream on top of the dumplings and stir.

Add cream to the finished dumplings.

And finished product, all mixed up...yum!

And that, my friends, is my Grandma Vivian’s Dumplings…actually wrote down and save for all of posterity. She would have been proud of me! She was my best friend, and has been gone for almost a year now. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her, and wish that I would have just one more day with her. She taught me so many things about life, but the thing she cherished most was laughter…and good German food! 😉

These are authentic German dumplings...made from scratch! (And low protein!)

Grandma would normally serve this with chicken, but it goes well with any protein item of your choice: beef, lamb, pork, etc. (Not sure it would go well with fish, but go ahead and try! Life is made for rules to be broken, right???) With this particular meal, my sister and I ate these dumplings all by themselves. Just because we could.
Enjoy!
King Arthur did provide me with flour to use for this recipe contest however the opinions listed here are my own.

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