"German grandmas are awesome"
...reads a comment on my latest Facebook post from one of my friends… and that pretty much sums up my amazing grandma (or Oma in German). Just yesterday she took her last breath on Earth in Trier, Germany, and joined God in Heaven… While I am sad that I won't get to hug her again for the remainder of my life on Earth, I am relieved that she no longer has to suffer from her diseases that have given her immense discomfort over the last few years. Sieghilde was and remains a warrior as she fought until the very end. She left a wonderfully loving family behind that is spread all over the country and the world. When they arrived at her hospital bed a few days ago, they surrounded her with their company, love, music and laughter until it was time for Sieghilde to go. And I was able to speak some last words to my grandma and be a part of her unexpectedly quick last days on Earth via FaceTime.
This is the first time that I am old enough to really comprehend the experience of losing a family member and friend… I must say that while my heart is shattering that I can't be with my family at this time, it is truly comforting for me to know that Sieghilde will always be there for us. Oma has never experienced air travel in her lifetime, but I hope that her spirit will come visit me in Kansas sometime.
The day she died, I decided to celebrate her existence by making one of my favorite foods that she would prepare for our family called Klößchen. Klößchen are little homemade potato dumplings, boiled and then sautéed with eggs. They are then served with caramelized onions and bacon lardons.
Please know that most things in life that are worth living take some effort… this recipe is very labor intensive and you will probably shred your fingers instead of potatoes every now and then.. I just want you to be aware and cautious!
If you still dare to make this, you will need:
- Baking or the "mealiest" potatoes you can find (about 1 lb/person)
- Potato starch and/or all purpose flour (1 Tbsp/lb of potatoes)
- Eggs (1 egg/lb of potatoes)
- Vegetable oil
- ½ onion/person (I bought giant yellow onions at CostCo, so if yours are on the smaller side, use a whole onion/person)
- Butter (2 Tbsp/onion - again, if your onions run smaller, just use one Tbsp/onion)
- Thick cut bacon strips cut into lardons (about 1 inch wide pieces)
For the Klößchen (potato dumplings):
- Start by washing and peeling the potatoes. Now starts the grating process.. I have a 3-sided grater with 3 different grating stages and chose the middle size holes, although the smaller size holes work well also.
- Put grated potatoes in a thin kitchen towel or cheesecloth like towel and wring out as much water as you possibly can. I would recommend doing one small batch of potatoes at a time as this is more manageable.
- Add in about 1 tablespoon of starch for each pound of potatoes that you originally started out with. If the potato dough feels too wet, try to wring out more water. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of potatoes.
- Add a couple of teaspoons of water to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Spread about a one inch thick layer of potato dough onto a small cutting board and start scooping in small dumplings directly into the boiling water. Work in batches.
- Let the potato dumplings rise and boil for a couple of minutes.
- Rescue the dumplings from the water pot with a slotted spoon and let them drain some more by dropping them into a sieve set over a bowl.
- In a large non-stick skillet and over medium high heat, drop the drained potato dumplings in the skillet with some vegetable oil and sauté for a few minutes until they get some color. Add 1 egg per pound of potatoes you originally started with and salt to taste.
For the onions:
- Cut ½ onion per pound of potatoes into half-rings.
- In a large skillet with a lid, add in 1 tablespoon of butter per ½ onion and sauté for about half an hour while stirring every 5 minutes or so, covering with a lid.
Sauté bacon lardons in separate skillet and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle Klößchen with bacon, add onions on the side or on top and enjoy with a glass of fresh milk (if you're from the KC area, I like Shatto milk myself…)! Guten Appetit!
German cooking uses more technique than ingredients and oftentimes I am surprised at how simple ingredients like onions and potatoes can taste this good when they are prepared in certain ways. With each potato I was peeling, grating, wringing, boiling, sautéing and eating, I gained more respect towards my wonderful grandmother and her hard work and dedication to putting delicious things for us on the table every day for lunch (and granted, I had my fiancé Jason's help…).
Rest in peace, Oma Sieghilde, and good luck to all of you who are curious to try try this recipe now. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to help as best as I can!
Much love // Viel Liebe