We set out for my in-laws today and arrived just in time for supper. My mother-in-law (m-i-l), a retired home-ec teacher, is a whiz in the kitchen. We were served one of my husband’s favorite meals–potato dumplings. A nod to my in-laws’ Norwegian heritage, potato dumplings consist of a chunk of ham surrounded with a thick coating of flour and potato. The coating is shaped into a ball around the ham and the dumpling is then simmered in beef broth to cook through. The final dumpling is fluffy, though densely packed, and 3ish inches in diameter. One makes a meal. Seasoned with salt and pepper (and dipped in ketchup when on my plate), potato dumplings aren’t bad. But I’ll never be as fond of them as is my husband. I learned to make them once, as a new bride, but made my first batch when pregnant with my oldest. “Morning” sickness struck that night and I never again made a batch of potato dumplings. My very kind m-i-l knows this story and is good enough to make me a baked potato and slice or two of ham when she serves potato dumplings.
Tonight, the dumplings shared the table with old-school farm food: homemade oatmeal bread, tossed green salad, and cooked broccoli and carrots. We enjoyed a wonderful meal. The kicker, though, was dessert. My m-i-l brought out a pan of brownies, an entire Bundt cake, and scoops of ice cream. All for our family of four. We were thrilled with the home-baked goodies (though she confessed the cake came from a box) as well as with the extravagance and heartiness of the meal. We were welcomed with feasting. What more could you ask for? (Though tomorrow I’m going to need to walk this meal off.)
- Beef bouillon
- 4 cups grated peeled potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 (1- to 1 1/2-inch) chunks lean ham
Bring stockpot two-thirds full of bouillon to a boil.
Meanwhile, in bowl, stir together potatoes, all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, and salt until just combined. With damp hands, mound fistful of potato mixture around each chunk ham to make 8 dumplings.
Drop dumplings into simmering broth; simmer partially covered 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked through. Remove with slotted spoon to serve. Makes 8 dumplings.