Kreplach

In my family chicken soup with meat kreplach is always served for Rosh Hashana and Erev Yom Kippur. Apparently, there are a few reasons why we eat them, but I’ll let you check out those reasons here.

In my grandmother’s house, every Friday night or holiday dinner started with a bowl of chicken soup. Sometimes there were noodles but on special occasions, we were lucky to get kreplach.

Once the chicken has been boiled for the soup, my grandmother would have never considered throwing out the meat. And in the off-chance there was a little brisket or other piece of meat left over from a meal, she would add it and turn it into something that was tasty and filling. Adding some other flavours and fillers (caramelized onions and potatoes) and wrapping it in a dough turned the leftover chicken/meat into a treasured treat.

As is often the case with peasant foods, kreplach were first made to save money and use what was on hand and available. Now they are not only made for those reasons but also because they are so well-loved. There is no question that it takes some time to prepare these – but they are worth it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boiled chicken/brisket/roast
  • 8 oz yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbsp schmaltz or oil
  • 8 oz red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • a little chicken stock as needed

Heat the fat in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

While the onions cook, put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover and place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 20-30 minutes.  Use a colander to drain well and cool.

Place the chicken in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times,to break up the chicken. Add the potatoes and pulse several more times, until the chicken and potatoes are almost combined.

Add the salt, pepper,and the cooked onions.  Pulse a few times to start, and then run the machine until the mixture starts to come together — but don’t over-process it. You want the mixture to maintain some texture and not become a smooth paste.

If the filling is too dry, add a little chicken broth and process briefly to mix through.  The final filling should be free of chunks,moist but not wet, and it should stay together when you scoop some of it out.

Taste and check for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary, and mix in.

You can find the recipe for the dough here. You’ll need one or two batches of dough, depending on how much you fill the kreplach.

Roll the dough out to approximately 1/8-inch thick. I use a 2″ cookie cutter to cut circles in the dough, then place a scoop of filling on each round (approximately 1 Tbsp of filling).

Pick up one round and fold the dough over the filling:

Pinch the dough all the way around the edge. If the dough doesn’t stick together you can try one of two things. Either flour your fingers before you pinch, or brush the inside of the dough with some water (or both).

Then bring the two ends together, forming a circle and pinch them together:

Place on a lightly floured, parchment lined baking sheet as you form the rest of the kreplach:

Bring plenty of water to boil with some salt and a splash of oil. Get a bowl, colander/strainer and a slotted spoon ready and carefully add kreplach to the top, making sure you don’t overcrowd them (boil in batches).

Gently stir the pot and the kreplach should start floating to the top almost immediately. Once they’re all floating, let them cook another minute, then pull them out and transfer them to the colander to drain completely.

You can add these to chicken soup and eat them right away, or drizzle with a little canola oil and gently toss. Arrange the oiled kreplach on a fresh, parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze.

Once the kreplach are frozen, transfer to freezer bags and keep for a few months — if they last!

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