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Ein Teller Suppe mit Leberknödeln

liver dumplings

January 7th, 2024 | main dishes

In terms of sustainability, this recipe is brilliant: you can use leftover bread as a base for the liver dumplings. And in keeping with the motto “Nose to Tail”, according to which we should of course use the entire animal, including the innards, with these liver dumplings you have a very special and sustainable dish on your plate. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

liver dumplings

During our recent hikes through Italy, I noticed that there – whether in the Emiglia Romana, Tuscany or Apulia – dishes with offal are on the menu in every restaurant. There are stalls in the markets that only sell offal: tripe, livers, kidneys, brains, hearts and even testicles are on display there. What was once considered poor people’s food has achieved a certain cult status in some places. So we were in Florence in a tripperia, a tripe restaurant that only serves dishes with tripe, i.e. beef stomach. It was delicious, simple yet sophisticated!

Here in Germany, offal – apart from liver – has almost disappeared from people’s consciousness. Stomach or heart are hardly to get in this country. Regrettable! We should actually get back to using the whole animal and not just the noble parts. Well, let’s get to the liver dumplings:

The bread you need doesn’t have to be from the day before, but can easily be older. If you have some bread left over, you can stockpile it: cut it into cubes, let it air dry for some days and store it in a storage container or a jar with a screw lid. This way you can use even the last crumb of bread. If you use these very dry bread cubes, just use a little more milk to soak them. You can then use this stock to make liver dumplings, but also normal bread dumplings (Semmelknödel) or bacon dumplings.

You can serve the liver dumplings as a soup addition in a clear, strong vegetable or beef broth. Or you can fry them sliced in butter and serve them with glazed onion rings. Both are delicious and go wonderfully with the cold season.

liver dumplings

(makes 10 dumplings – please note: allow for approximately 60 minutes of rest time!)

300 g dry bread, diced
do not cut the bread cubes too roughly; an edge length of 0.6 to 0.7 centimeters is ideal
375 ml lukewarm milk
1 ts salt
mix the bread, milk and salt and let it steep for about 20 – 30 minutes
2 onions, chopped
8 stalks flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 TS butter
sauté the onions over a mild heat until soft, add the parsley at the very end, stir briefly, remove the pan from the heat, let it cool and add it to the soaked bread
500 g beef liver
20 g fatty bacon
pass both through the middle disc of a meat grinder and place on the soaked bread
5 eggs
black pepper from the mill
1 ts marjoram
whisk together
2 TS flour
sift over the eggs, whisk and pour onto the soaked bread
now it's best to mix the dumpling mixture thoroughly with your hands and let it sit for 15 - 20 minutes
3 - 6 TS breadcrumbs
add, knead in, let stand for another 15 minutes
form dumplings with wet hands, place the dumplings in a steamer basket* or sieve and let them simmer over boiling salted water for about 20 minutes

And that's how the captain's wife does it

* If you don’t have a steamer, you can also cook the dumplings in water: To do this, place a test dumpling in slightly boiling salted water. If it falls apart, you have to knead in more breadcrumbs. Let the dumplings simmer over a mild heat for about 15 minutes. When they rise to the surface in the water and rotate on their own axis, they are cooked. Anyhow, cooking in a steamer is definitely the better option: nothing falls apart and the flavors are not released into the water, but remain in the dumpling.

Oh, and by the way: The liver dumplings can be frozen excellently: simply let them thaw and either let them steep in the broth until warm or fry them. Very practical, even as an appetizer for guests.

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