October 23, 2012

Knocherls? What are they?




The red-lettered script written on the yellow lined school pad was difficult to read. No wonder—it was written in 1974. The recipe took me back to 1996 when I drove from Connellsville, Pennsylvania to Presque Isle, Maine—just south of Caribou, which you might recognize due to its frequent mention on the weather channel during winter as being the coldest spot in the nation. My mother, older sister Lee, and I considered Portsmouth, New Hampshire, our hometown. We relocated from there to Buffalo, New York, when my mother married my stepfather. My mother and stepfather relocated to Maine when he was transferred there for his work. Portsmouth had been my first stop on the New England coast, and from there I drove to Presque Isle, where I stayed for several days. While there my younger sister, Cynthia, who had also relocated from Buffalo to Maine, visited. My mother asked us what we wanted for dinner. “Chicken and knockrls,” we said in unison, laughing. Looking back I realize how unfair we were. My mother was caretaker for her ailing husband, who was twice her size. He was bed- or wheel-chair bound, and his care was physically and emotionally challenging. For example, I watched as my mother would, in her early seventies, wheel him to the car, help him into their car, and then fold and lift the wheelchair into the trunk. Yet Cynthia and I requested a meal that was probably more than our mother wanted to tackle. And it was as delicious as we remembered from our childhood. Our mother was a good cook. Recently Lee called and asked me if I had a copy of the recipe. After searching my files I found it and sent it on. But my curiosity was piqued. Knocherls? I knew it was a form of dumpling, but nothing else. What nationality was it? I went to the computer and typed knocherls in the search engine. Surprise! There were very few references to knocherls. All referenced veal and knocherls. Nothing with chicken. I mentioned this to my sister. She said she thought it was a Swedish dish, which could make sense if our mother acquired the recipe from her first husband, our father. His mother, our grandmother, was a Swedish immigrant, Ida Victoria Berg. I thought it might be Lithuanian, as my grandfather immigrated from Lithuania. My first computer search leaned towards the recipe being Hungarian. When I later re-searched references came up in German.   Lee told me that our mother found the recipe in the newspaper, the Buffalo Evening News. Something uncheckable.   Anyway, I’m including my mother’s recipe (just as she wrote it) and a recipe from one of the Internet sites.



Frying chicken, cut up Chopped onions (about one medium) Salt and pepper Paprika Lemon juice (bottled or fresh) 2-3 tblspns. Sour cream (2 cups) KNOCKRLS 3 eggs 2 ½ cups cold water 5 cups unsifted flour Salt, about 2 heaping tspns. In a kettle with a heavy bottom brown the onions lightly in margarine. Remove from kettle. Spread chicken with salt and pepper and liberally with paprika and brown in margarine. When all the chicken is browned combine the browned onions with the chicken in the kettle. Add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice, cover, and let simmer until chicken is tender, about one hour. Remove chicken. To make gravy, add sour cream. Knockrls: Break eggs into a large bowl, add water (2 ½ cups). Add flour and salt all at once. Stir mixture until well blended. Using about 4 quarts of boiling water, drop batter by half teaspoons into kettle, immersing spoon each time. When knockrls rise to the top boil about ten minutes. Serve covered with sour cream gravy. If gravy is too thick add a little more lemon juice. Hope the above isn’t too confusing. P. S. When you add the sour cream to the gravy be sure the gravy does not come to a boil but just heat the sour cream through.


Veal Goulash1

Yield: 1 Servings Ingredients: 500 g  Veal, cut into 2 cm cubes 1    Onion, finely chopped 1 tb Oil 1 tb Paprika Heat the oil in large saucepan and fry the onion gently until golden. Sprinkle on the paprika and when this is bubbling add the meat and stir to coat it.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and braise slowly for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very tender.  Add salt to taste and check to see whether a little more paprika is needed. Cool for a few minutes longer and serve with knockrl [Spaetzle S.C.] or rice. From “Mother Magyar” by Meryl Constance, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/8/92.  Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; February 18 1993. File ~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Husband’s Famous Pumpkin Pie: A Martha and Mary Situation: Herb & Spice Fill-in-the-Blank Quiz SOURCE 1


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