In my family, most holiday meals start with a bowl of chicken soup. Depending on the time of year, the golden broth may have matzo balls floating in it, egg noodles, or for the High Holidays, meat kreplach.
I love kreplach. The simple dough recipe makes a soft, silky dough that’s easy to work with and delicious when stuffed with the meat filling. The filling is a great way to use up the chicken from your chicken soup (though you can also add some brisket if you’d like).
Dough – You’ll need 2 batches of dough for 1 batch of filling
3 cups. flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola/vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons schmaltz** or oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 small or 1 large red potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. boiled chicken - mixture of white and dark
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup chicken stock
To make dough:
Place the flour, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor. Run the machine on low for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. With the machine running, slowly add the oil, then the water. Mix until the dough is combined and has formed a ball. If the dough is too wet, add a couple of tablespoons of flour until you have a smooth, moist, but not sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for approximately 2 hours.
You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook to prepare the dough.
To make filling:
Melt the schmaltz in a frying pan. You can also use a light vegetable oil if you don’t have or want to use schmaltz. Add the onions and sweat over medium heat for 25-35 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. While the onions are cooking, put the potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a simmer and cook until fork-tender. Drain well and set aside.
Use a food processor to finely chop the chicken, potato and fried onions. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock and continue to pulse the mixture until it’s well combined and finely ground. When it’s all mixed together, the filling should stick together and be moist, but not wet.Taste and check for seasoning. Add a little more chicken stock or water if you feel the filling is too dry.
To assemble kreplach:
To assemble the kreplach, roll the relaxed dough out on a floured table with a rolling pin that you’ve also floured. Roll the dough out to 1/3 to 1/4–-inch thickness. Use a 2–inch round cutter or glass to cut circles in the dough. (The scraps can be used again. Just wrap them in plastic and let them rest a minimum of 30 minutes before using.)
Place one ball of filling on each dough circle. Pick one up and fold the dough in half, sandwiching the filling. Pinch the dough all the way around the edge. If you have trouble getting the dough to stick together, try flouring your fingers a little before you pinch, or brush the inside edges of the dough with some water (or both). You can leave the kreple as is, or bring the two ends together, forming a circle and pinch them together. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling until all have been assembled. Place them on a well-floured baking sheet as you go.
To cook kreplach:
To cook the kreplach, bring plenty of water to boil in a large pot with some salt and a splash of oil. Have a bowl set up with a colander and a slotted spoon ready to go. Add a dozen kreplach to the pot (don’t overcrowd the pot – if 12 looks like too many add less). The kreplach will start floating almost immediately. Once they are all floating, simmer another minute.
Use the slotted spoon to pull the kreplach out of the water, and place them in the colander to drain completely. If you’re eating them right away, add them to your chicken soup and serve. If you want to freeze them for later, rinse them in cold water and toss with a little oil. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags.
When you’re ready to use the frozen kreplach, thaw and rinse to remove the oil. They can be warmed up in a pot of boiling water or right in the chicken soup.
Yield: one batch of filling and two doughs makes approximately 8 dozen.
** It’s easy to get enough schmaltz for frying the onions without any extra work, as long as you’re making chicken soup. As the chicken soup chills, the fat will rise to the top and harden. Carefully skim the hardened chicken fat off the top and you have schmaltz ready to go.
Recipes: Soup, Kreplach, Chicken, Kosher