I spent several days in February with my sister, Linda, during the state wrestling tournament. My nephew, Jesse, took the state title for the third year in a row in his weight and we were very proud. Linda threw a party for Jesse’s team and friends to celebrate and that’s where I came in. I’m her caterer. She’s bossy that way. Joking! One of the foods was a giant electric roaster of knoephla soup, Jesse’s favorite.
I was too lazy to copy the recipe so I took a picture. Very 2017 of me, eh?. Linda makes the soup regularly as she says they love dumplings in their soup. She originally made knoephla by rolling the dough and cutting the dumplings into squares, but found making them drop dumplings was just as good. Much easier, in fact. She doubles and triples the amount of dough for dumplings until the soup is drowned out. Dumplings rule!
The soup was a huge hit with the wrestling team. I’d saved myself a coffee cup full of soup to try later, and we left them to their feast of soup, dips, chips, pies, cakes and bars. My sister and I headed for a nearby Italian restaurant and binged on pasta and pizza. Job well done!
I was home several days later and still thinking about knoephla soup. I wanted more! I had all of the ingredients. Linda buys rotisserie chickens for the soup. I’d removed all of the chicken from the carcasses and threw the bones into a big pot filled with water. I simmered it for a couple of hours and made a small batch of bone broth. It was good added to the soup along with the cartons of chicken broth we’d bought. I never think broth from cartons is strong enough. Linda’s recipe called for cubes of bouillon added to the soup as well to amp up the chicken flavor.
I had chicken breasts in my freezer I thawed and diced up. It would have to do since it was storming outside and I didn’t want to leave the house to find a whole chicken. I sautéed the chicken until it was lightly browned in places then added it to my crockpot.
I had diced the onion and celery ahead of time and sautéed it with a drizzle of oil just until it was translucent at Linda’s. I stored the veggies in the fridge until it was time to make soup. We were working on a tight schedule to make the soup between wrestling matches at the FargoDome, a few miles away. At home I diced up 3 ribs of celery and an onion and sautéed them until they were beginning to turn brown. I wanted a little more celery than the recipe called for.
I used cartons of chicken broth as well as the bouillon cubes for the broth in the crockpot. I didn’t use the cream of chicken soup, I don’t ever buy that. I had enough chicken flavor without it. Adding cream to the soup later would make it creamy anyway.
I withheld some of the broth and brought it to a boil in a saucepan as Linda had done. I made the drop dumplings a few at a time and added them to my crockpot. I was going to simmer my knoephla soup for several hours on low.
If I’d made the soup in a large kettle it would have been easy to drop the dumplings into the boiling soup. Since I wasn’t doing that, Linda’s improvising worked well for me, too.
I also copied Linda’s idea to use the broth to cook the potatoes before adding them to the crockpot. The crockpot wouldn’t be on high long enough to cook them through. This way worked great and I soon had my soup all ready. I let it simmer on low for 3 hours.
After 3 hours I added cream to the crockpot and taste tested my knoephla. I added salt and pepper until I was satisfied with the seasonings. I let it simmer another 30 minutes or so and soup was served.
My P.S. (Pleased by Soup/ hubby) had come home to the castle sniffing loudly. He was pretty happy to discover what was in the crockpot. We devoured large amounts of soup and dumplings for dinner, pleased with every bite. We even had plenty of leftovers for several more meals! Knoephla definitely is a hearty meal.
- 3 ribs of celery; diced
- 1 large onion; diced
- drizzle of oil
- 6 cups water
- 8 bouillon cubes
- 1 carton chicken broth (approx 8 cups)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (optional)
- 5 potatoes; peeled and diced
- 1-2 cups of cream
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs; beaten
- 1/2 cup water + more if necessary
- Heat large nonstick skillet with a drizzle of oil and sauté the celery and onion until beginning to brown around the edges.
- Add to crockpot with 6 cups of water and bouillon cubes.
- Heat carton of chicken broth to boiling in a large saucepan.
- Place dumplings ingredients in a large bowl and stir well, adding more water if necessary to mix smoothly. Drop dumplings one tablespoon at a time into boiling broth and cook several for 2-3 minutes until they’re floating. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to crockpot. Continue until all dough is used.
- In remaining broth in saucepan add potatoes and cook until beginning to soften. You want them a little firm yet or they will fall apart. Add potatoes and broth to crockpot.
- Cook soup on low for 3 hours.
- Add cream and taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired.
- Soup will thicken; you might want to add more chicken broth when heating leftovers for meals.