Today was a real let-down in terms of Spring: strong gusts of wind carried bin lids across the garden, and the heavy rain didn’t exactly entice us to leave the house, either. In other words: a day for comfort food.
Since I had been sent the gorgeous wine from Inntravel, I needed to make something that would go nicely with the fruity Dr Loosen ‘Grey Slate’ Riesling. Something that would lift my spirits so I could forget about the storm outside as well as the inner damage caused by the change of clocks…
Only one food fitted the bill here: sauerkraut. Now, I’ve made this in the past as a side dish or as a dish in itself, but this time I though I present you with ‘Hefeknöpfle’, or ‘yeast buttons’: small boiled dumplings that are very popular in Southern Germany. Made from a simple yeast dough, they don’t take long to prepare, and the resting periods fit in perfectly with the time it takes to cook the kraut.
Unfortunately for vegetarians, we have the unhealthy tendency to add fried bacon to every vegetable dish. Feel free to leave it out, replacing it, perhaps, with a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder, just to give you the lightly smokey taste of the bacon, but without the added fat.
A deliciously sweet and sour dish, which is even better with a glass of white wine on the side – so, if you haven’t already, do sign up for the German wine giveaway before it is too late!
Yeast Dumplings with Sauerkraut (serves 4)
For the dumplings:
- 300g plain flour
- 1/2 generous tsp dried active yeast
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 180ml lukewarm milk
- 30g butter
- 1 egg
- a pinch of salt, or two, depending on how salty you like your food
For the Sauerkraut:
- 1 jar of Sauerkraut (750g)
- 50g clarified butter (ghee)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 50g smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 cooking apple, finely chopped
- 5 juniper seeds
- 1/2 tsp of caraway seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1 glass of water (add vegetable stock powder if you are leaving out the meat)
- salt, pepper to taste
In a large bowl, measure out the flour and make a little dent in the middle. Place the yeast and a generous pinch of the sugar into the dent and add the milk. To activate the yeast it needs to get in contact with the liquid.
Add the remaining ingredients and knead it until you get a soft and smooth ball of dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest until roughly doubled in size – this takes between 30 minutes and an hour.
In that time, prepare the sauerkraut: heat the butter in a medium=sized casserole and sauté the onions, bacon and apple until translucent. Add the sauerkraut, spices and liquids, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour at a low heat.
Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to boil. Add some salt and then the dough balls. Simmer them for 20-25 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon and serve with the sauerkraut.
Guten Appetit, I suppose! And a reminder of that lovely wine in the giveaway …