"Top Chef" alumnus Stefan Richter serves his pretzel knodel (dumplings) alongside braised red cabbage and crispy duck breast at his Santa Monica restaurant, Stefan's at L.A. Farm. But these knodel are delicious on their own. They're made with soft pretzels, which give the dumplings a little more heft and their distinctive flavor. They're seasoned with marjoram, white pepper and a little garlic. "When they are boiled and sexy," according to Richter's recipe, "you can take it up to another level and brown them in a sauté pan with a tablespoon of butter and some extra chopped parsley."
Pretzel knodel (pretzel dumplings)
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Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Note: Recipe (and commentary) from Stefan Richter of Stefan's at L.A. Farm
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for sautéing
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped marjoram
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound baguettes or soft pretzels, cut or broken into ¼- to ½-inch cubes
2 cups whole milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, chopped
Pinch of white pepper
1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions until they are translucent.
2. Stir in the parsley and marjoram; cook briefly (until aromatic) and then set aside to let the mixture cool.
3. Place the cubed bread in a large bowl and season, if desired, with salt. (If you used salted pretzels, you may not need to season at all.) In a small saucepan, heat the milk almost to boiling and pour it over the cubed pretzels. Set aside to cool and go relax for 15 minutes.
4. When the bread-milk mixture is cool, mix in the onion-parsley mixture and the eggs. Add the bread crumbs, garlic and white pepper and mix well. If the mixture seems too soft to hold a shape, add more bread crumbs until it is thick enough. The mixture should be firm enough to form into dumplings that hold their shape.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Dip your hands into cold water and make a test dumpling, about the size of a large golf ball. Lower it gently into the simmering water and cook. If it doesn't hold up, add more bread crumbs to the mixture. Once you've found the right consistency, shape the mixture into 20 dumplings.
6. Gently lower the dumplings into the simmering salted water and cook until they are puffed slightly and cooked through, about 7 minutes. When they are boiled and sexy, you can take it up to another level and brown them in a sauté pan with a tablespoon of butter and some extra chopped parsley. That's what I do.
Each serving: 215 calories; 9 grams protein; 28 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 8 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 96 mg. cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 1,031 mg. sodium.