Russian “kletsky” (pronounced as “klet-skee”) is a word used to name the dish known also in Ukrainian and Belarusian cuisines as “galushky”, in Italian cuisine as gnocchi, in Czech – as “knedliky” and so on. All of these dishes are flour made balls (sometimes also flattened into pillow shape) can be generally referred as dumplings. Usually cooked in broth or milk they are popular in Eastern Europe. In Belarus and Poland they are often served with lean meatless soup or sometimes fried with onion and bacon.
The main secret of dumplings is tasty broth and properly cooked dough. Soups can include combination of meatballs and flour or potato dumplings.
Fall is already out there and I am happy to share with you my first autumn still life composition from the new collection. I would be excited to receive your feedback.
“There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood –
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.”
Bliss Carman, A Vagabond Song
Note: Good dumplings must be soft and fluffy. In order to achieve desired consistency, eggs and butter are added to the dough. Finely chopped herbs, spices, grated potatoes and sometimes even cereals are also added for special aroma, consistency and taste.
For the broth:
- 3-4 lb. chicken pieces, such as wings or legs
- 1 small head of celery, carefully washed and trimmed, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 bouquet garni containing bay leaf, parsley, thyme
- 1 large carrot, thickly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
- salt, to taste
- chopped fresh parsley to serve
For the potato klotski (dumplings):
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Add the chicken pieces, vegetables and bouquet garni to the pot. Pour in the cold water to cover the ingredients and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat, add the peppercorns and cover partially. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Skim of any scum when the water first boils and skim occasionally again during simmering.
Line a strainer with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth and set it inside a large bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the strainer. Discard the solids. Season with salt.
To make the klotski: Cook the potatoes in a pan of salted boiling water for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and mash the potatoes with butter. Add eggs, basil, salt, pepper and little of the flour. Quickly mix the ingredients into the potato, adding more flour as you go, until you have a smooth, firm dough. Divide the mixture into small dumplings. Cook the klotski in chicken broth, boiling for about 5 minutes, or until they rise to the surface.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve with 3-4 potato klotski and sprinkled with parsley.