Serves 4 | prep 15 mins | total time
- 15g unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 150g good-quality white bread from a farmhouse loaf, torn or chopped into tiny pieces (about ½-1cm) and left out overnight to dry out
- 75g Emmenthal cheese, cut into 5mm dice
- 75g mature Gouda, cut into 5mm dice
- 100ml full-fat milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 100g unsalted butter
- 40g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
You need to dry out the bread the day before making this recipe. Make and shape the knödel up to 1 day ahead, transfer to a tray, cover with clingfilm and chill.
- Heat the butter in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the stale bread in a mixing bowl, and add the cheeses and cooled onion. In a small jug, whisk together the milk, eggs and chives with some seasoning and pour over the bread mixture. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Using your hands, combine well, until the mixture comes together. Divide into 8 pieces (they'll weigh about 60g each) and using wet hands, roll each piece into a ball, squeezing the mixture to make a compact ball. Try to get them as tight as possible. They'll be larger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball. Transfer to a tray, cover with clingfilm; chill for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day ahead.
- While they rest, bring a very large pan (or use 2 pans) of salted water to the boil, then reduce the heat so that the water is just below simmering point (this is important – if the water boils too vigorously, the knödel will break apart. You should just have an occasional small bubble rising from the base of the pan). Carefully lift the knödel into the water and leave to barely simmer for about 15 minutes – they will rise to the surface after a couple of minutes. Gently turn the knödel over once or twice during cooking.
- In the meantime, melt the butter for the topping in a small saucepan over a medium heat. It will foam, then turn golden, then finally start turning brown and smell nutty. Stir often and keep an eye on it. Once it is very fragrant, almost nut-brown in colour, remove from the heat and set aside.
- When your knödel are done, carefully remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, letting them drain for a moment. Place 2 on each plate, drizzle over the brown butter and top with Parmesan and chives. Enjoy immediately.
Knödel dumplings are popular in Germany, Austria and South Tyrol, where you won't find a Christmas market without a knödel stand – the locals enjoy them with lots of melted brown butter and Parmesan.