The first snow of the season called for a soup and bread dinner tonight. So I went back over fifteen years for the inspiration for the soup.
You see, out in the wilds of North Dakota where we were for those two-plus years, there was a soup offered on restaurant menus, at soup suppers, and community gatherings that neither of us had heard of: knepfla (or knoepfla, depending on which spelling you accept). It was so ubiquitous there that if I were to identify a signature dish of the region, it would actually be this soup.
It is so popular and common and beloved that at one community soup supper fundraiser, I was asked to make a soup simply so that there was a choice besides knepfla and chicken noodle. I made a French version of minestrone. When we got there, I brought my large-ish pot of soup to the kitchen, and found it desperately outnumbered by eight equally sized or larger pots of knepfla. My pot was placed next to the also-rans…er, soup, as it settled with the one pot of chicken noodle. At the end of the night, I went to gather my pot and found that it was still nearly full. To this day, I believe that I was the only one in town who had a bowl of it.
Knepfla soup is German, and it’s basically a soup that was invented by someone who decided to take a vegetable soup and make it less healthy. Well, okay, that isn’t entirely true, but it’s a potato soup, cooked in chicken stock, with carrots, celery and onion, and after the potatoes and veggies have simmered in the stock for a while, you add a simple egg dumpling and let it cook for a while. Then at the very end, you add half and half or cream and let it sit for a bit off heat to let it thicken a bit from the flour in the dumplings.
The truth is, I’ve never made it until tonight. As I said, you couldn’t spit in Garrison without hitting some source for knepfla, so I never had a reason to make it out there. And I’ve talked about making it back here for years, but just never have. It turned out well–a little more pepper in this recipe than it usually had out there, and I think I’ll cut down on the celery and onion next time, but besides those tweaks, it was almost spot-on. So you can head over to my food site and see a picture of tonight’s flashback dinner. Oh…And if you head over there, the breads are no knead bread and homemade french bread. There are pictures of those there, too.
See you tomorrow.