Silesian Potato Dumplings aka Giant Gnocchi

Alright, 2012 is in full swing. We all had our fair share of Best Of Lists of 2011. Now it's time to move on and look forward.
So far the year has started great for me. I was featured in the  Dubai food magazine Ahlan Gourmet with two recipes plus pictures, and another photo of mine was used on the cover. It's the first time ever I see any of my photos printed. I am quite proud, to an extent that I have sleepless nights, out of excitement.
 
I haven't made any New Year resolutions. A whole year is too much to foresee. I can think in projects, that might take shorter or longer than a year. Otherwise, there is only general terms: to live happily and fulfilled. Whatever that means on the day or over a period of time.
My next big project will be the Dubai Marathon on 27 January 2012. Until then, life will be divided into before and after marathon categories. I think my fitness levels are good. I had a good training program. I was able to follow it more or less. I didn't get injured, I am feeling fit and ready for it. So far, I think I can do another Personal Best Time. The tapering time has started now, weekly mileage is coming down, muscles have to be rested to be 100% ready on Day X. Whatever fitness level I haven't reached until now, I will not reach at all til marathon day. Resting is more important now, to be able to run the 26miles/42k on the day.
In other words, my training amount is coming down. I have more time to spend on other things, like cooking, photographing, blogging.

Today's recipe is an old classic that I grew up with: potato dumplings. My grandparents brought this recipe from Silesia (a part of today's Poland). They passed it on to my mom and now to me. In our family, potato dumplings are the one and only side dish for special occasions, to accompany a big roast with a deep dark gravy. When I was a kid, my cousins, my sister and I used to have competitions who could eat the most dumplings with gravy (we didn't care much about the roast). The boys always won, eating eight or ten of these.
Now that I am an expat and far away from home and with my own family, I like to make these these dumplings for special occasions too. It's usually just for Christmas. Then they have to be perfect and taste like my mom or grandparents make them.
The ingredients are the same as Italian Gnocchi are made from. The only difference is the size. If you make them smaller or cut them up, they may as well go with a light Italian tomato sauce or pesto. Bon appetit!
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SILESIAN POTATO DUMPLINGS aka GIANT GNOCCHI

(Print Recipe)

1lb/450g starchy potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 -3/4 cup flour (my mom uses AP, I use wholewheat)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Yields 10-12
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Peel the potatoes, cut them into big chunks. Cook them in plenty of salted boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool a little. Push the cooled pieces of potato through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Add salt and the egg and blend into the potatoes. This is best be done with your hands. Knead in the flour, little by little. You might get the right consistency with 1/2 cup of flour. If the dough seems too wet, add more flour, just a little at a time. The dough should be moist. At the same time, it should be easy to form balls out of the dough. No dough should be left sticking to your hands while rolling.

To be on the safe side, you can do a test run with just one dumpling.

Roll a ball of the size of a medium tomato.

Keep a big pot filled with hot (not boiling, but close to it) salted water over low heat. Add the dumpling, and let it cook in the hot water. The dumpling is ready when it pops up to the water surface. That takes about 5-10 minutes. Take out with a slotted spoon. Cutting it with a knife, and giving it a taste will give you a clue, if the consistency is right. They should be slighty springy, keep their shape when cutting. Adjust the flour amount in the dough, if the dumpling is falling apart or seems to wet. If the dumplings seems rubbery, you have used too much flour. In this case, you gave to start from scratch.
If the consistency is right, repeat rolling balls until all dough is used up.

Place the remaining dumplings into the barely simmering water. Don't overcrowd the pot. They should not touch each other at the bottom of the pot. Once they pop up, take them out with a slotted spoon. Transfer to serving bowl. Ready to serve.

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