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Central European Recipes: Potatoe Dumplings
Potatoe dumplings are the central part of any dish between Eisenach and the Czech Republic.
There is an exception: In Frankfurt cider pubs, you cannot order dumplings. People of the other regions generally agree, that there should be potatoes in a potatoe dumpling.
Here the puristic basic recipe for circa 10 dumplings:
2 kg (4.5 pound) raw mealy potatoes
Peel the potatoes, cut one third into pieces and boil in half a liter of water, mash the boiled potatoes.
Grate the remaining two thirds of the potatoes, wait till the the mass has sunk to the ground of the bowl, pour the liquid off, dry the grated potatoes with a kitchen towel. Add salt, add the hot potatoe mash. Mix well.
At this point, the consistency of the mixture is essential: You have to be able to form the dumplings.
Trick: Add potatoe flour, if the mixture is too liquid.
Put the dumpling into slightly boiling water, take the pan from the stove when the dumplings have risen to the surface of the water. Let the dumplings stand in hot water for 10 minutes.
Absolutely essential: The dumplings are supposed to simmer, not to boil.
There is a discussion, if the dumplings should be grated by hand or in a machine, and which amount of potatoes should be raw, if any.
People debate, if it is legitimate to use hot milk, if eggs, semolina, flour, and fat can be added, if you roast bread crumbs and put it into the middle of the dumplings, if the dumplings should be rolled in flour, if vinegar or lemon juice is needed and if ready-made dumplings are acceptable.
Here one - sliced - Czech potatoe dumpling variation:
Mash 800 g (1.76 pound) cold boiled potatoes, add salt, cover with 100 g (3.53 oz) semolina and 200 g (7.05 oz) flour, press a hollow into the center, crack two eggs and place them into the hollow, add two tablespoons of vinegar, mix first by fork, then by hand, form two rolls, put into boiling salted water, let simmer for 20 minutes, cut into slices, cover with onion cubes fried in butter or lard.
And there is a fast short cut - a ready made potatoe dumpling mix - very popular in Germany. All you have to do is add water, stir, let stand for 10 minutes, form dumplings, put into boiling water and let simmer for 20 minutes. If you don't find Panni (or Pfanni, as it is called in Germany) in your supermarket, you can order it via amazon.com.
As a side-dish, serve anything that provides a good sauce: roast goose or duck, red cabbage with apples, creamed mushrooms, sauerbraten, goulash ...
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