Dumplings with Boiled Veal from the Oeconomia

Johannes Coler has a few Knödel recipes, and this is an interesting section:

“Die Knödelesserin” Romanesque painting from Eppan, courtesy of wikimedia commons

Of veal dumplings

(marginalia: Making veal dumplings)

Chop raw veal together well and chop good pieces of bacon with it. Add finely cut parsley and chop it with the rest. Break 3 or 4 eggs into it and strew in pepper, saffron and ginger. Bring pure butter to the boil, drop in the dumplings with a spoon and let them boil. But you must only cook them over coals or they will become too burned (prüntzlich). And you must also not stir them with the spoon, but only shake the pot. Then take them out and lay them with boiled veal and let them cook along with it. The rear quarters of the calf are the best, they are nicely meaty.

(marginalia: To make dumplings in another way)

Or take white bread (Semmel), lay them in water and let them soften in it. When it is soft, press out the water cleanly and put fried bacon on it, take finely chopped thyme and stir that in. Then break pure (bahr) eggs into it and add pepper and saffron. Then take flour and stir it all together so that it becomes like a dough and place one dumpling (klüp) after another into the (boiling) veal with a spoon when the meat is done, and let it boil up together.

(marginalia: dumplings in another way)

Or take veal as it pleases you, as much as you want, chop it small, break two or three eggs into it until it is very small. Then pour in a little cream and add spices and salt. Make small dumplings and let them boil. Or whisk (quirle) the eggs in the cream. Put a piece of meat or several into pure water, set it by the fire, and when it boils up, lay in the abovementioned dumplings and let it cook until it is done.

Book III p 79 (228 in pdf)

Coler sometimes throws in a salutary reminder that Renaissance German cuisine is not all intense and over-the-top. These veal dumplings are reminiscent of Königsberger Klopse, a symphony of mild flavours and careful spicing, and the middle recipe is one of the first detailed recipes for Semmelklöße we have (but not the only one in the Oeconomia, as we will see). Bread dumplings are likely much older than this, and recipes dating to the fifteenth century suggest that something like that was made then, but we only get detailed descrtiptions in the sixteenth century. I will try to post some more tomorrow.

Johann Coler’s Oeconomia ruralis et domestica was a popular book on the topic of managing a wealthy household. It is based largely on previous writings by Coler and first appeared between 1596 and 1601. Repeatedly reprinted for decades, it became one of the most influential early works of Hausväterliteratur. I am working from a 1645 edition.

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