On my way back from vacation in Germany, I had to use the next week to try out some of my favorite German recipes. German cuisine is often related to meat and potatoes, well this recipe is no exception. Knödel is a potato dumpling quite popular in Central Europe, although they call it Klöße in northern Germany. Usually for this particular recipe they would make a semmelknödel (bread dumpling) with it, not a potato one. I wanted to experiment more with the potato knödel, this week I’ve already done my first knödel with a beer beef stew which turned out great, although a bit too fluffy. This time I’ve changed the potato for a more waxy or “a less starchy” one which resulted in having to add lots and lots of starch and semolina. Conclusion: use potatoes with the most starch that you know of for those recipes, a russet potato for example, then the Knödel will hold great.
I’ve made a handful of my truffle kale chips to the Knödel, but you could also use a hand full of finely chopped fresh spinach or kale and add it to the mix. Just to give a touch of color and extra vitamins to the dish. Without saying… mushrooms and spinach is a great combination.
It’s fall and mushroom season is at it’s peak, so… better make good use of them. Mushroom with a creamy sauce is an unavoidable winning combination. The knödel will absorb every bit of this velvety, rich mushroom sauce. I’ve used the popular button mushroom, nothing special here, for this recipe but you could have any type you’d like, even add a mix of button and some fried extra wild mushroom on top. It simply a basic broth, cream, white wine, nutmeg sauce made under 20 minutes.
So let’s roll those Knödel!
Mushroom sauce Knödel
Makes 4 portions (2 knödel each)
- 1 kg (about 8 medium sized) of “starchy” potato (ex; russet) or if you use a less starchy kind of potato (yukon,kennebec), double the amount of both semolina and starch to the mix
- 80 ml of milk
- 2 tbsp of starch (cornstarch)
- 2 tbsp of semolina
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 hand of finely chopped kale or spinach
- 1 slice of white bread toasted cut into small cubes *optional
- salt, pepper
The Mushroom sauce
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 200ml of cream
- 200g of button mushrooms sliced
- 100ml of vegetable broth (or chicken, beef)
- 50ml of white wine
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (mix it with the cold white wine, so it dissolve better)
- fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- salt, pepper
*Make a single knödel as a test to see if it hold good, if not add starch and semolina to the mix
- Peel and cut into small cubes the 1/2 of the potatoes
- Cook in salty boiling water until soft
- Peel and grate finely the rest of the potatoes
- Add to a cheesecloth, or kitchen towel and squeeze all the juice out into a bowl (let the starch separate, takes about 10 minutes)
- In a medium size sauce pan, warm up the milk and add the raw grated potato , the semolina, butter, salt, nutmeg and pepper and mix well (take of the fire)
- Make purée with the cooked potatoes and add to the mix
- Chopped finely the spinach or kale and add to the mix
- Eliminate the water from the drained potato juice and keep only the bottom starch
- Add the starch to the mix and the extra cornstarch
- Check for the seasoning a last time
- Toast a piece of white bread and cut it into cubes *optional, add a piece or two in the middle of the dumplings.
- Make a dumpling with wet hands and add to warm (barely simmering) salty water, don’t boil or the dumplings will get destroyed
- At this point you make a single Knödel to test your potato mixture (optional but highly recommended)
- Let them in the barely simmering water for 20-25 minutes
- Serve with a pinch of salt and add some chives or parsley as a topping.
The mushroom sauce
- Cook the onion in the sauce pan, medium-low, until tender
- Add the mushrooms, garlic and broth and let cook, medium-high heat for 10 minute to reduce the broth
- Mix the cornstarch and cool white wine in a small bowl and add to the mushrooms, mix
- Let thickens for 2 minutes
- Add the parsley, the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper, let simmer, low heat for 2-3 more minutes until warm
- Serve the sauce with the spinach knödel