I love potato dumplings. Since I’m German by heritage, that almost goes without saying.
My mother wasn’t a keen cook. When we were little, we did regularly get dumplings, but they were from a packet (Panni, which you can still get, even all these decades later. Probably because they’re good). Easy – mix with water, form into balls and put in salted boiling water.
But made from scratch is always better, if not either easier or quicker.
You can make this kind of dumpling from potato or bread. I think the bread ones are my favourite, but then I’m a total bread fiend (also very German), and I never assume they’ll will be to anyone else’s taste. They’re also quite a bit more work.
Potato dumplings can be made a number of ways: from raw and grated; from cooked and mashed; and from unpeeled and cooked. Grated are quite a bit more work and – probably because I grew up on packet dumplings – I’m not sure the better flavour is worth the extra time and effort.
Of the cooked and mashed versions, I was brought up to use unpeeled potatoes that you cook and then peel for most purposes, including potato salad. They do taste different cooked that way, and usually better.
But on this occasion I was making the peeled, cooked and then mashed variety. I had a few people coming for lunch for a traditional German meal, so I half-made the dumplings in advance and finished them off the next morning.
The second part of this feast – the meat element, rouladen (a kind of beef olive) – I’ll describe in a separate post. This meat produces a delicious gravy, which is perfect for the dumplings. The third key element – red cabbage – has already been covered earlier in this blog.
This specific meal – potato dumplings, rouladen and red cabbage – was always No.1 when I had my choice of birthday meal as a kid. Every single time.
750g potatoes, peeled, cooked, mashed and thoroughly drained. I used sebago potatoes (I also made double this quality on this occasion).
Add 100g plain flour and mix thoroughly. (At this stage I left them to cool and put the mix in the fridge overnight. It will come out very firm, but it loosens up well with the egg. The next day I used a wooden spoon to mix the egg in and then used a masher on it again).
Form into balls.
Place in a big pot of boiling salted water. Typically they’re ready when they have risen to the top of the pot. Take out and drain.
Verdict: a much-loved old favourite, and much easier to make than you might expect.