Dumplings in Austria – Knoedel
Austrians definetely have their thing with Knoedel. As long as I was living only in Austria, growing up there and all, I did not realize that. But when I first went to work to another country, to Switzerland, people there brought up the idea in me, that Austria could be a Knoedel-country. If not THE Knoedel-country, as for swiss people a Knoedel is something quite exotic, and they are neighbours to Austria. Not only the head chef there but almost every chef asked me at least once, what it is all about with Austria and its Knoedels.
Let´s see how many Knoedel varieties Austria has, that come to my mind. There are Semmel Knoedel, Kartoffel Knoedel, Speck Knoedel, Tiroler Knoedel, Grammel Knoedel, Haschee Knoedel, Wurst Knoedel, Zwetschgen Knoedel, Marillen Knoedel, Erdbeer Knoedel, Topfen Knoedel, Germ Knoedel, Griess Knoedel, Essig Knoedel … hooo!! that is quite a lot I would say, and these alone are common to Austrians like rice is to Chinese.
Austrians just love to eat dumplings, many variations of those mostly round dough balls are known and often enjoyed in Austrian households but also restaurants.
A Semmel is a simple white bread roll. Semmel are the Austrians first choice of bread for breakfast or when having a sandwich. So Austrians bakeries produce millions of these rolls every day, but you can´t eat them when they are over a half day old. So on a poor day for Mr. Bakerman he sat on hundreds of leftover bread-rolls. So that is why you can buy ready ground breadcrumbs and for the Knoedel ready cut and dried bread cubes, the so called “Knoedel bread” or “Semmel cubes”.
There is the simple side-dish Knoedel, which is served with saucy dishes such as a paprika gulyas, or roast pork. Alone, Austria has two different kinds of this side-dish Knoedel. There is the Semmel Knoedel, which is a white bread dumpling, and there is the Kartoffel Knoedel which is a potato dumpling. The Semmel Knoedel is common in Upper Austria and Salzburg, Lower Austria and Vienna love the potato dumpling.
Another big thing is it, to have some filling, and cover it with dough and give it the shape of a ball. We do that with a lot of different fillings, and some different doughs. We stuff potato-dough with apricots, plums, and strawberries but also with minced leftovers from roast-meat and smoked sausage, with bacon, but the one with no meat on it, just white bacon.
Is it maybe a praise on the globe, a monument for mother earth? Or is there a connection with soccer, which is very popular in Austria, could be, but soccer wasn´t that popular when they created the dumpling. White bread dumpling dough and potato dough are definitely superb when one wants to cook very economic, for there are always bread leftovers and often potato leftovers. Potato dough is better when the potatoes are cooked a day in advance. So Knoedel are a welcome meal for Austrians and one can be very creative on trying out new sorts.
The first prize in being economic goes to “SAUTEED DUMPLING with EGGS”, for being a dish made of Knoedel leftovers, which are a bread leftovers dish. WOW, you might say, Austrians eat leftovers over and over! I do not agree with you in that, but I do agree if you say Austria is a Knoedel-country, if not THE Knoedel-country.