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Kroppkakor ~ Swedish Stuffed Potato Dumplings

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Sheila Hibben is best known as the New Yorker Magazine’s first food columnist and restaurant critic. She also wrote a good deal about American regional cooking. Her measure of good food is not how fancy it is, or how novel, but how the end result tastes. Kroppkakor are a part of America’s Scandinavian heritage. They are, to use one of Mrs. Hibben’s expressions, “honest victuals”.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Unpeeled Idaho Potatoes, 2 Should Be About 1 Pound
  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Or Goose Fat Or Butter
  • ⅓ cups Minced Prosciutto: Any Other Ham You Like May Be Substituted.
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Onion
  • ⅛ teaspoons Ground Cloves (optional)
  • 1 whole Egg, Beaten
  • ¼ cups White Unbleached Flour, Plus A Little More Flour For The Pastry Board
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, Plus A Little To Sprinkle On The Dumplings Once They Are Fried
  • ⅛ teaspoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • Oil For Deep Frying
  • Chopped Parsley Or Parsley Sprigs, For Garnish (optional)

Preparation

A serving note: The recipe makes 14-16 dumplings.

A timing note: The dumplings may be prepared several hours in advance through step 8, then refrigerated and fried later in the day.

You will also need:

1. A grater with large holes.
2. A mixing bowl.
3. A pastry board and rolling pin.
4. A 2-inch (5 cm) biscuit cutter or a small glass with a 2-inch (5 cm) mouth.
5. A spatula with a flat blade.
6. A baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
7. A pot for deep frying.
8. A slotted spoon.
9. A deep-fry thermometer is useful for maintaining the oil at the best frying temperature.

For the dumplings:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C). Prick holes in the unpeeled potatoes and bake them until they are tender. This will take roughly an hour or a little less. Then remove them from the oven and set aside to cool them.
2. While the potatoes cool, make the stuffing. In a skillet melt the fat or butter over low heat and add the prosciutto or other ham. Cook it, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until the ham begins to turn golden around the edges. Add the onions and continue cooking, stirring the mixture about, until both prosciutto and onion are golden. Transfer them to a bowl to cool. Stir in the ground cloves if including them.
3. Grate the potatoes over the large-sized holes of a grater. There’s no need to peel them. The peel will fold back as the potato runs through the holes of the grater.
4. Place the grated potato in a mixing bowl. Add the beaten egg, flour, salt and pepper and mix everything together with one hand, squeezing and kneading the mixture into a cohesive dough. The dough will be damp but not sticky.
5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured pastry board and roll it out to a thickness of about 1/4-inch (about 1/2 cm). Cut rounds with the biscuit cutter or glass. Use the flat blade of the spatula to slide under any rounds that stick to the pastry board. In this way, they will come away from the board without losing their shape.
6. Place about 1 teaspoon of stuffing in the center of half of the rounds.
7. Top the rounds containing stuffing with the remaining rounds.
8. Press the edges of each pair of rounds together and roll them into balls. (Photographs of shaping the dumplings are on the related link.) The dumplings may be prepared up to this point several hours in advance. Store covered and refrigerated until you are ready to fry them.
9. To fry the dumplings, pour oil into a deep pot. There should be enough oil to allow the dumplings to float freely without touching the bottom of the pot as they fry.
10. Heat the oil to 360 F (about 185 C) and place a few of the dumplings at a time in the hot oil to fry until they are golden. Stir the dumplings about gently with a slotted spoon to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. They will fry in about 3 minutes. Drain them on a paper towel lined plate and fry the rest in the same way.
11. Before serving, sprinkle them with salt and a little chopped parsley, or garnish with a branch of parsley.

A recommendation: Mrs. Hibben’s first cookbook, “The National Cookbook: A Kitchen Americana” is a collection of straightforward and familiar dishes. The book is available in its entirety online and may be accessed through the related blog link. Kroppkakor are not from Mrs. Hibben’s book, but it is a recipe in the spirit of her recipes.

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