Just for once, we’re gonna talk about the recipe, for real! But don’t get used to it… We just think this particular one can benefit for a little explanation. It’s a traditional dish in Germany and North of Italy but it’s probably totally unknown outside of Europe.
Knödels are a perfect winter dish when eaten in their broth, an awesome all-year-round dish when eaten with melted butter (yes, you heard that correctly!), and in general a delicious way to get rid of big chunks of stale bread, if you’re tired of bread puddings. Plus, the day after they are even better!!
Can someone get tired of bread puddings??
As with most traditional recipes, there are infinite ways to make them. In fact, they are a close cousin of meatballs and meatloaves. Except they are usually without meat. Ehr… well, you got the meaning, right?
Anyway, there are 3 main recipes:
- Italian speck
Followed shortly by a kale version. The main ingredients, however, are always the same: stale bread, milk and egg.
When they are ready you can serve them in their cooking broth, or drained with melted butter on top and a veggie side dish. They are really easy and versatile but keep in mind the bread will need some time to absorb the milk – from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how stale it is.
(I decided to try and cook them since I only ever tasted them when I was 15 and they were not good. Not at all. But then, everybody loves them so… I thought probably I just had some bad ones!! And it was true, they came out AMAZING – Eli)
Knödel (Italian Speck Flavour)
Listen to: Rammstein – Sonne
Drink: Spiced Mulled Wine – because it’s still cold in Germany!!
- 200 grams stale bread (actually even fresh bread is ok), french or italian kind. Not sweet rolls or any other soft kind of breads (7 ounces)
- 2 litres beef broth (8 1/2 cups)
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 tsp oil
- 2 eggs
- 40 grams plain flour (1/3 cup) + more to roll the knödels in
- 1 onion
- 150 ml milk (2/3 cup, scant)
- 100 grams italian speck (you can use bacon – 3.5 ounces)
- 1 tbs fresh parsley
- 2 tbs parmesan cheese, grated
- nutmeg, salt, pepper
- Dice your bread, onion and speck into really small cubes, and chop the parsley
- Mix the bread with eggs, milk salt and pepper. Cover it and let it rest, mixing every now and then to ensure all the bread is absorbing the liquids. The bread will need to rest until is completely soft, from 30 minutes if it’s still fresh to 2 hours if it’s stale. If you are in a hurry you can remove the crust, but keeping it will make more chewy knodels 🙂
- In the meantime, sauté the onion and speck in a pan with both butter and oil, until the onion is soft
- When the bread is ready and soft, mix it with the onion and speck mixture, parsley, flour, parmesan and nutmeg to taste
- Mix well, cover and let rest another 30 minutes
- Divide your mixture into 12 balls (yeah, they ARE sticky, try not to let it all stick to your hands!!) and roll them in flour
- Bring your broth to a boil, and then put in your knödels at medium heat. Cook them for about 15 minutes, until they start to float on top
- Serve them directly in the broth. Or drain them and serve with melted butter, and a nice veggie side dish 🙂
Now for the final touches:
- Calories: 200 each
- Fridge: 2 days, keep them inside the broth and for the 3rd day you can boil them again
- Freezable: yes
- Next day: they get a lot better!!
- Cold: nope nope nope don’t try it
- Hot: the hotter the better!!!
- Re-heating: absolutely yes