A Swiss Reader’s Tale of Knepfle
by Dee Rintoul
I grew up with “cheater” knepfle. I learned from my Oma, who had a Southern German background, but was Romanian-born. She made all kinds of noodles and pasta dishes — spatzle, real egg noodles that were dried and stored, but for everyday use. Knepfle were child’s play. In our own home, we made them for lunch and threw them into Lipton chicken noodle soup (which was not something we’d ever find in Oma’s kitchen!). God. That woman could cook…
Anyway. The way we did it was to beat an egg or two (depending on how greedy we felt at the time), add a pinch of salt and some dried parsley if we thought of it or wanted to impress schoolmates, then beat in all-purpose flour until it was so stiff it wouldn’t take any more and/or became too difficult to stir. Then we’d drop pieces in a pot of boiling water with a fork and a teaspoon, dipping both implements into the simmering soup in between to help the stiff dough drop. Once they were all in, we put the lid on, turned down the heat, and kept it covered for a few minutes.
When we finally lifted the lid, we found gorgeous, fluffy-looking, but very chewy little dumplings, all floating together on top of the soup. We loved these so much that as kids we used to scorn dumplings as being “too soft”. To our minds, dumplings, or anything that remotely resembled knepfle, ought to be quite al dente.
I still make these for chicken soup (and I try not to rely on Lipton but make my own as often as possible!).