Friday, August 15, 2008

Stockup up Provisions

This next recipe could work both as a 'serve as-is' dish in its own right, and also as part of a winter casserole. Being Austrian it has the charming name of Speckknodel and we may recognise 'speck' as being diced bacon. The traditional way to serve it as a topping to a beef stew/casseroles. An economical way is to serve the dumplings during the colder months with a vegetable casserole. As an even more economical main dish in its own right, the Austrians serve the dumplings topped with sauerkraut and crisp fried onion rings. We could serve the dumplings with cooked red or white cabbage (red cabbage, cooked properly with apples and vinegar has far more flavour).
Bacon Dumplings: makes about 16
3 or 4 rashers of bacon, finely diced
8 oz (225g) 1/2" bread cubes, cut from stale bread
2 tblsp finely chopped onions
3 tblsp milk
2 tblsp finely chopped parsley
2 oz (50g) flour
Put the bacon into a hot dry frying pan and fry until the fat is running free and the bacon lightly browned. Removed bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Pour the fat from the pan and return 4 tblsp to the pan and re-heat, when hot stir in the bread cubes and toss in the fat until brown all over. Remove to a mixing bowl. Add remaining bacon fat to the pan and re-heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes until beginning to brown, then add to the bread cubes. Pour over the milk and add the parsley. Stir in the flour and season to taste.
Leave the mixture to stand for about 10 minutes or until the croutons are moist and softened. Carefully mix in the bacon and, using wetted hands, form the mixture into small balls (about the size of small tomatoes). To cook in a casserole, drop the dumplings into a pan of simmering beef broth and cook, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until they are firm to the touch. Alternatively cook in salted water, drain and coat the dumplings with the thickened gravy, serving meat and veg separately.

Caramelised Milk Pudding: serves 6 - 8
15 oz (425g) can condensed milk
1 pint (575ml) fresh milk
half tsp bicarbonate soda
5 oz (150g) dark brown sugar
2 tblsp water
Put the condensed milk, fresh milk and the soda into a pan over high heat, and stirring all the time heat just up to boiling point, then immediately remove from the heat.
In another pan heat the sugar with the water and stir until the sugar has dissolved then pour into the hot milk and mix well. Return the milk mixture to a very low heat and simmer for at least an hour, stirring often, and watching that it doesn't catch and burn. When the mixture has turned an amber colour and thickened then pour into a dish. Serve at room temperature or cool and place it in the fridge for a few hours and serve it chilled.