Monday, February 21, 2011

Mixmaster Monday

Welcome to this week's edition of Mixmaster Monday!

About 18 or so years ago, I happened to find myself driving through Montana, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota. It was a week-long holiday, just a flying visit.

Aside from knowing about Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore, I really didn't know too much else about those states. I did get to enjoy these sites, and their natural beauties, which were many.

One thing I didn't know about North Dakota was that it is steeped in German history, as it was settled by mainly German pioneers, back in the day. As can be expected, many German customs and traditional foods have continued to be part of the fabric of North Dakota, to this day.

At one point while driving through North Dakota, I stopped at a small roadside restaurant, the sort of place that could easily be featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives". I ordered a bowl of soup which, eighteen years later, I have still not forgotten.

The soup I ordered was called Knoephla Soup (pronounced 'nip-fla'). Knoephla, as I learned, were tiny dumplings, found in this potato and dumpling soup, and it was absolutely delicious! A magnificent, classic comfort food. I was so taken with it that I asked the waitress to write the name of it down for me, so I could try to find a recipe.

She did write down the name for me, and I kept that little piece of paper for years and years and years. If I could find the wallet I had at that time, I'm sure that note is still in there. I can't imagine that I would have thrown it away.

Sadly, this was before the Internet as we know it today, so researching something like this proved to be very difficult, and eventually, I forgot about it.

Last year, though, when I started working on a fundraising cookbook for the dialysis unit where I work, I recalled my bowl of Knoephla Soup, and starting searching the Internet, trying to find it. Well, there are as many recipes for it as their are variations on making macaroni & cheese. Some had bacon and some didn't. Some had stuffed dumplings and some had plain dumplings. Some were creamy and some were brothy. None sounded like what I remembered, not totally, so I just kept looking, and waiting. After all, I had waited 18 years, what was a little more time?

Finally, just within the past couple of weeks, I came upon a recipe that, by the sounds of it, most closely resembles what I had enjoyed all those years ago. I have not yet had a chance to test-drive it, but I have every intention of doing so, very soon. The recipe I'm posting below is the one that, I am hoping, will bring back fond memories of driving through North Dakota, and stopping for a bowl of very memorable Knoephla Soup. I'll be back in the near future to report on my success with it!

Please note that the comments in brackets after ingredients or directions are those of the person who posted the recipe. They are not my comments. I have included them for clarity, and to provide options. I don't think, though, that the diner I ate at was too concerned at the time with healthy options. Rest assured... I will be using the heavy cream when I finally get down to making this!


Knoephla Soup

1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium or large onion (depends on how much you like onions)
4-5 medium to large potatoes (I recommend red ones)
1 pint of heavy whipping cream or Half and Half (optional - I don't use either)
Milk - Put in as much milk as it takes to get the quantity of soup you need. (I only use milk not the creams - sometimes I add a little water, but be careful not to add too much, you'll dilute the flavor.)

1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp salt

Stir ingredients together just to form a soft dough (add milk if needed).
Cut off small pieces and drop into a pan of boiling water.
Cook until soft.

Peel and cut into small pieces, as many potatoes as you would like in your soup. (Recommend 4-5 medium to large for a hearty soup)

1 onion (boil in small fry pan with a little water for a Healthier version OR with a little butter or oil)

  1.  When dumplings (knoephla), potatoes and onion are ready, drain each and combine into one large kettle.
  2. Add cream / half and half (optional).
  3. Add enough milk to make as much soup as needed.
  4. Heat and serve*.
 *Add 1/2 tsp margarine or butter and salt and pepper to each serving, if desired

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