Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gluten Free German Potato Dumplings


Gluten Free German Dumplings with carrot salad
Gluten Free, Egg Free German Potato Dumplings (Gluten Free Kartofelkloesse) with Gluten Free Vegetarian Gravy and Cooked Carrot Salad

          Some of you know that I’ve been on a mission these past two weeks to make gluten free versions of my old favorite childhood dishes.  Part of this is because it’s Easter and right now I’m far away from most of my friends and family, which has made me a little nostalgic.  Another, and more prominent reason, is because my Polish grandfather (my Opa) passed away at the end of January, and despite having spent a lot of time with him as a child in my hometown of Winnipeg I feel like there is so much that I don’t know about him.  I had the same impression when my other grandfather passed away a few years ago at the age of 94.  Although I was blessed with all four grandparents for such a very long time, I feel like kicking myself because suddenly I have a million questions that I never thought to ask them, and for some reason still can’t quite articulate to those that remain. 
 
Me, my Opa and his best friend

In the photo to the left, that's me in the middle, with my Opa on my left in the light coloured jacket.  To my right was my Opa's best friend, who passed away a couple of years ago as well.  My Opa was a very proud member of the Royal Canadian Polish Legion, Winnipeg Chapter.   

There are so many memories and emotions wrapped up in our senses that the smell and taste of certain foods can have such a strong impact on us so many years later.  The dishes I’ve posted the last two weeks, CabbageRolls and Spaetzle, and now these dumplings, remind me so much of my childhood that I can really see myself sitting in my Omi and Opa’s little kitchen, with the giant windows overlooking their backyard gardens.  They had flower beds everywhere, encircling the house, the sides of the fence and all around the garage.  They also had a little vegetable plot where my Opa would putter all day, mixing eggshells and compost and nursing his prized tomatoes and peas. My Opa also loved to make cement blocks, and had created stepping stones all around the house.  As small children, he had my sister and I (and their dog, Tosca) place our hands and feet in wet cement, documenting our growth through foot imprints. 
     
         So anyway, my point here is that Easter for me has always been about getting together with family.  This year, I’m visiting my fiancĂ© in the U.S. (let’s call him The Flipper, since that is his job in the kitchen, flipping pancakes and scrambled eggs.  Aside from some amazing pasta sauce, he isn’t interested in cooking, but really, really does not want to be considered a negligent partner in the kitchen, so he has positioned himself as the master stirrer and flipper) and we’re both far from our Canadian families.  So instead of celebrating Easter on one day, or the long weekend, I’ve essentially been celebrating it for over 2 weeks by recreating all my favorite German comfort foods. 
             
These potato dumplings are the last of my gluten free German Easter specials.  My Omi would make these huge, white, fluffy potato dumplings and smother them with gravy and chunks of meat.  It was wonderful.  But I don’t eat chunks of beef anymore, so I’ve covered mine with vegetarian, gluten free gravy instead (recipe below).  Also, I wanted to make these slightly healthier by adding some sweet potatoes to the russets.  This is not necessary, but sweet potatoes are so much healthier than russets, and have none of the starch, so I try to incorporate them when I can.  I’ve also paired it here with some Carrot Salad with ginger, lemon and dill sauce, another one of my attempts at healthy “German fusion.”


            The original recipe inspiration comes from this website on German recipes, although I have, of course, altered it somewhat with the addition of sweet potatoes and nutmeg.  I boiled the russet potatoes for about 25 minutes, and the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, to soften them.  However, you could bake them for about 45 minutes or microwave them instead.  The potato measurements are approximate because it is always difficult to measure them but I used about ½ c mashed sweet potato and 3 cups mashed russets, or about 2 small sweet potatoes and 3 medium –large sized russets.   

Ingredients: Makes about 15 dumplings

* Potato measurements are approximate.
½ c mashed sweet potato (about 2 small or 1 medium sized)
3 c mashed russet potatoes (about 3 medium)*
½ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp salt, plus more for boiling water
¾ c corn starch or potato starch (potato is preferable, but corn is cheaper and readily available)
Update Feb 25, 2013 - I've recently found that adding approx 2 Tbsp of glutinous rice flour (a.k.a. sweet rice flour - don't worry, it IS gluten free) helps to bind the dumplings even more.  

Directions: 

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Roll the dough into dumplings about 2 inches in diameter, slightly larger than golf ball-sized.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Using a slotted spoon, place several dumplings into the water.  They will sink at first, but will eventually rise and float.  Once they float, continue to cook over a rolling boil for approximately 10 minutes (this will depend on the size of your dumplings, but you want them to cook all the way through and take on a “light and fluffy” appearance).  Remove from the water and continue with the remaining dumplings.  

Mashing, Shaping and Boiling Potato Dumplings

Gluten Free Vegetarian Gravy

This is so easy to make, I don’t know why I avoided attempting it for so long.  I’ve used it here for the German dumplings, but have also served it over bean burger patties and bread as a mock meatloaf.  Keep in the fridge and use later for leftovers if you like.  Reheat according to the instructions below. 

Ingredients:

2 c vegetable stock*
1/4 c water
1Tbsp corn starch or arrowroot starch

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and ¼ c water together. 

2. In a small pot, bring stock to a boil.  Slowly add in the mixed cornstarch and water, whisking the stock to incorporate.  Once the sauce begins to thicken, remove from heat and continue whisking.  Serve warm. 

* To reheat, place in a microwave or back in a pot and heat for 30sec – 1 minute.  Whisk to blend (it will separate a bit when chilled in the fridge).


Whatever you celebrate this weekend, enjoy it with family and friends!! 

*OAS Info: Potatoes are on the OAS chart. The double boiling process *should* eliminate reactive allergen proteins and make this ok to eat.  If in doubt, try substituting with all sweet potatoes, or avoid altogether.  Most stock is made with celery, a common OAS food. In the case of celery, boiling may not destroy the allergen protein, and it may cause a reaction in severly allergic people.  If in doubt, make your own stock without celery.  

This recipe was shared on the following sites:
My Meatless Mondays on My Sweet and Savoury, Just Another Meatless Monday on Hey, What's for Dinner Mom? Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist, Melt in Your Mouth Monday on Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Traditional Tuesday, Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits on Permanent Posies, Allergy Free Wednesdays on Tessa the Domestic Diva, What's Cooking Wednesdays on The King's Court IV



Monday Meals

9 comments:

  1. These sound wonderful! My mother was Polish and I grew up on pierogies :) I am currently experimenting with different flours to come up with the 'perfect' GF/DF/ egg free pierogi :) Can't wait to share when I do! Thanks for sharing this week. Enjoyed your recipe!

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    Replies
    1. I look forward to your pierogi recipe! I have one that uses an egg, but would love to see a good eggless one. I imagine some extra starch or sweet rice flour would do the trick. Thanks again for hosting Made from Scratch Mondays!

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  2. Hi, PAGF! Sorry, I didn't see your name? Thanks so much for stopping by my blog from the MNINB challenge. It's been fun, hasn't it? Your blog looks great: very clear and well-laid out. Definitely add your name in somewhere, but other than that it looks fantastic. Good luck meeting your goals!

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  3. Hi Danielle, Lovely recipe! I've never had potato dumplings before... but I am a huge potato fan! Thanks for bringing this lovely recipe to Sugar Free Sunday!! :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sonia,

      Thanks for hosting the Sunday link up, and glad to hear you're doing well (for anyone reading this, Sonia's posted a very interesting post about the connection between diet and back pain here - http://flipcookbook.com/2012/04/sugar-free-sunday-inflammation/ )

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  4. Mmmmm...comfort food! This looks delicious. I'd love to try it sometime. (Oh, and I love your blog name!) Thanks for sharing this week at Allergy-Free Wednesdays. We hope to see you back again next week.
    Have a great weekend!
    ~Michelle, AFW Hostess

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for hosting AFW. You have all created a fabulously interconnected resource!

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    2. This sounded so wonderful, so made it tonight. I used the corn starch with it. I scooped the dumplings into boiling water and let them cook for over 10 minutes. When I went to pull them out they had almost completely disintegrated, not much dumpling left, just lots of potatoes and starch dissolved into the water. I was so disappointed. What went wrong?

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    3. Hi Judy, I'm so sorry they didn't work for you. You do have to keep an eye on them, and take them out when they take on a fluffier appearance. Boiling time depends on the size of your dumpling, and if left for too long, they do start to fall apart.

      More recently, I've found that adding a couple of Tablespoons of glutinous rice flour helps to bind it even more (also known as sweet rice flour, it's gluten free it's just called that because it's sticky, like gluten). I've added the adjustment above.

      I hope that helps!

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