Before the steel industry and later the banking sector, Luxembourg was first and foremost a rural country. That’s why most culinary specialties are peasant dishes using few cheap and available ingredients. Kniddelen is the perfect example for this and is one of my favourite Luxembourgish dishes. You could describe the Kniddelen as a mixture between German Spätzle and Knödel.
For 3 to 4 persons you will need:
- 400 g of white flour
- 3 eggs
- 250 ml milk (full fat)
- salt (generous pinch)
Combine the flour with the salt and the eggs, then add the milk. The consistency of your batter should be quite thick, but not as much as yeast dough. If you wish you can replace some of the milk by sparkling water, it will make the Kniddelen more fluffy.
Leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes to one hour.
Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil. Once it reaches the simmering point just below boiling, reduce the heat and start making your Kniddelen. Using two spoons take a walnut size amount of batter and let it slide into the water. Once the Kniddelen come up to the surface (they may need a little help if stuck to the bottom of the pan), after around 5 to 7 minutes, they are done. Remove with a strainer and set aside with a little butter or directly into the sauce. Proceed in 3 or 4 times until all of your batter is used up. The Kniddelen are now ready, they should look like little clouds. So what do you eat these with?
The Luxembourgish Classic – Kniddelen mat Gréiwen
Gréiwen are fried bacon pieces where it is important to use the almost white bacon – lard entrelardé. Pour these with the melted fat over your Kniddelen and you’re done. Maybe have a salad on the side for some welcome freshness.
My childhood favourite – Kniddelen mat Tomatenzooss
Serve your Kniddelen in a fruity and mild tomato sauce and sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.
Guillaume’s favourite – Kniddelen Schwäizer Art
If you come from the mountain canton Valais in Switzerland, you think it is always a good idea to add a generous amount of raclette cheese to every dish, so I tried. This actually does work quite well with Kniddelen. Add a knob of butter to your Kniddelen, lay them in an oven-proof dish and sprinkle with a good amount of quality raclette cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Also calls for a guilt-free side salad.
Be creative, a lot goes well with Kniddelen. On the picture I presented a summer version with rucola, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, olives and goats cheese.