Spätzle Kartoffelsuppe (Potato Dumpling Soup)
This rustic soup is a real family favorite. We have it on Christmas Eve and sometimes also for our “all white dinner” on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and it’s perfect for a German saint day. It’s always in the Lenten “soup and stations” rotation, and the kids often choose it for their special days. I have very fond memories of cutting dumplings into bubbling soup with my grandfather, and I love doing it with my kids now. It’s not exactly a quick and easy process, but the results are so worth it. The soup thickens up with time and gets even better. It can be made a day or two ahead if desired. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding water if necessary. Stir very often to keep from scorching the bottom when reheating.
For the soup:
- 10 cups water
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lb sweet onions about 3 medium peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 ½ lbs russet potatoes about 8 small peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 8 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
For the dumplings:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Extra flour for dusting
Combine all the soup ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, in a mixer or by hand, combine the dumpling ingredients and mix until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into three pieces. Sprinkle a medium-sized cutting board with 1 Tablespoon of flour. Place one piece of dough on the cutting board and flatten to about ½ inch thick. Flip to coat both sides with flour.
With a sharp, smooth-edge knife, cut the dough into 1-inch strips, then cut ½ inch chunks of dough into the soup. The dough will cook in the broth, and the extra flour will thicken it. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough.
Check to make sure the potatoes are cooked through. The soup is best if left to rest for at least an hour, but can be served immediately.