I don’t know if you can get any more North Dakotan than knoephla/knephla soup. If your ancestors were early pioneers to this state, chances are high that you have eaten this soup. (Or if you’ve been to Kroll’s Diner, you’ve probably had it, too!)
Everyone has their own way of making it, each a little different than the other. I have my habitual way of making it, but today I changed up the way I make my knoephla. I recently learned about spaetzle makers and wanted to try one out for this soup. I picked one up here.
Why would I want to use one? To me, the most time consuming part of knoephla soup is making the knoephla. I normally roll the dough between my hands, forming ropes. I then use a scissors to cut the dough into small pieces, thus making the knoephla. With a spaetzle maker, you simply load the chamber and push it back and forth over the pan. Much quicker!
So, here’s what I do for my version of this old-fashioned soup…
- 1 32 oz. carton chicken broth
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 2 carrots, sliced thinly
- Celery seed, just a few shakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 small potatoes (or 1 large), diced
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken (or canned chicken breast if you’re in a pinch)
- 1-2 tsp. chicken base
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream (half & half or milk work too, but this is nice and rich)
- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Here’s what to do:
- In a stockpot or large sauce pan, combine onions, carrots, celery seed, bay leaf, and chicken broth. Bring to boil. (The humble beginnings of utter deliciousness)
- In the meantime, dice the potatoes. I like to then soak the potatoes in water so they don’t change color. It looks like my three potatoes equal about 1 1/2 cups diced.
- Mix up the knoephla dough in a medium mixing bowl. It might still be a little sticky. That’s okay for the spaetzle maker. If you are rolling it out with your hands, you will need to flour your hands and your work surface.
- By this time, the carrots and onions should be softened. Add 4 cups of water. Then drain the potatoes and add them to the soup. Return to a boil. (It doesn’t have to be a raging boil.)
- If you are rolling out the knoephla by hand, take a chunk of dough, roll it between your two hands, thus forming ropes. Flour your hands as needed. Cut each rope into pieces using a scissors. Let the pieces drop right into the pot.
- I wanted to experiment with my new spaetzle maker, so I used that instead of rolling out the dough by hand. Place the contraption above your pot and add dough.
- Simply slide it back and forth, and pieces of dough will fall directly into the soup.
- I wanted a little more size to the pieces of dough that were falling through, so I added a little weight by pushing the dough down with a drinking glass. It worked.
- It looks like regular knoephla soup, only the knoephlas are slightly smaller.
- Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Turn down heat to low. Remove the bay leaf, and add chicken, pepper, chicken base (add enough to suit your taste), parsley, and cream. Sometimes I will even add a couple teaspoons of butter (I think I get that from my grandma.) Stir. (I never used to add chicken to knoephla soup, but that’s how my husband grew up eating it, so I started adding it. It’s really good, and it’s nice to add some protein to the meal.)
- If you are ready to eat, dish up. I like to let my soup sit covered on the burner for 30 minutes or so before serving. I think it just gets better with time.
Yum! On a cold day, this is the best! 🙂
So, would I use the spaetzle maker again? I think so. I do prefer larger knoephlas, but you can’t beat the ease of using it. There’s no mess, it takes literally a few minutes to get all your knoephla made, and I just threw it in the dishwasher and it came out clean.
I hope you are having a warm and wonderful day!
UPDATE: Now that I’ve used the spaetzle maker on multiple occasions, I will say that I definitely prefer larger, hand cut knoephla. Next time I make the soup, that’s what I’m going to do. 🙂
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