Yozah! Good stuff.
First, what it is not.
Second, what it is: Kreplach are small stuffed dumplings, historically made by Ashkenazic Jews. They were originally made from leftover meat but can be equally good made from freshly prepared ground beef, chicken, mashed potatoes, or other fillings. Fillings tend to be family recipes and many people have their own traditional favorite and consider that to be the only right filling. Kreplach are similar to Italian ravioli in concept, and because the dumplings are often served in a simple chicken broth, they are commonly referred to in New York as Jewish Wonton - for their resemblance to the Chineese dumpling soup. Kreplach is a traditional dish served on the day before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) or on Hashanah Rabba (the 7th day of the Festival of Booths) or on Purim (the Feast of Lots).
Third, the recipe. This recipe is pretty simple and easy to make. This particular method is the one I used, it's based on several recipes and advice and guidance from Nathan Gendzier of the Brooklyn Gendziers (I believe that Gendzier is Yiddish for 'most excellent cool dude and soup guru').
2 cups flour (I prefer King Arthur unbleached white)
1/2 tsp salt (Kosher, of course)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 egg yolks (keep the whites, see below)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients.
I did this in my Kitchen-Aid mixer using the mixing paddle on low speed.
I see no reason why you couldn't do it by hand, with a pastry folder
(cutting whisk), I just like my Kitchen-Aid. Mix until you have a good
crumb, similar to making pie crust. Then carefully add a couple of
tablespoons of water until a dough forms, again similar to pie crust
dough or more correctly egg noodle dough if you're used to that.
Divide the dough into three equal sized balls and pack to get the air
bubbles out. Roll out on a floured surface using a rolling pin, I like
a French pin, but the standard American rolling pin will work just fine.
Roll the dough thin, it's elastic and you may need to let it rest for
a couple of minutes between rollings. Alternately you could run it
through a pasta maker set for lasagna noodles, set the rollers as thin
as you can and make the dough balls whatever size appropriate to your
machine. Cut into 3" squares. I used a large 'rocker' style pizza
cutter, but a pastry dough cutter, standard pizza circular cutter, or
sharp knife will work just fine. Set the squares aside, if it's hot in
your kitchen - put them in the refrigerator.
1 small onion or half a large onion, cut into pieces.
(diced fine, if you don't have a meat grinder)
1 good sized rib of celery, cut into crescents
(diced fine, if you don't have a meat grinder)
2 tbsp butter or oil (I like butter)
1 lb lean beef (approximately 1 lb, little more, little less is OK)
(I like flank steak, it's lean, cheap, and flavorful)
(unless you don't have a meat grinder, then use lean ground beef)
1 Chicken liver. (seriously, it won't taste right without it, really
1 tsp salt (Kosher, pay attention)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 egg (I just used the two egg whites left over from the dough)
Cut the meat into chunks. Melt the butter (you're using butter,
right? Not the oil) in a heavy pan. I use a cast-iron, stove-
top deep dutch oven. Brown the meat, add the onions and celery,
add the liver. Cook until the vegetables are soft, and the meat and
liver are cooked through. Run the mix through a food grinder set to
fine. You could do this in a food processor, using the pulse
setting or you could chop the vegetables fine and use ground beef and
avoid this step all together. Cool (no not duuude, cool. Cool as put
it in the fridge for a while). Add the rest of the ingredients
and mix thoroughly (use your hand), don't pack the mix together.
Assemble the dumplings:
Put a dab of filling in the middle of a square of dough. Dampen the
edges with a finger tip dipped in water. Fold into a triangle, then
fold each corner towards the middle bottom point. You should end up
with about about 20 Kreplach (this will be enough for the cook who
will eat them over the stove as they come out of the broth, cursing,
and burning their mouth. Adjust accordingly, just saying).
Cook the dumplings:
Make a chicken broth. If you're not big on making broth from scratch,
use Campbell's canned or better yet a couple of big spoonfuls of Tone's
Chicken Base dissolved in a quart of water. Bring to a low boil drop
each dumpling in the broth, cook 3-4 minutes, until they float. Spoon
out and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a paper towel dampened
with a bit of the broth. Refrigerate the dumplings until needed.
Turn the broth into soup, add chunks of chicken, carrot, celery, onion,
chopped parsley, a of dash white pepper, pinch of salt (Kosher). Make
it chunky. Right before serving, toss in a couple of dumplings per
serving. I served mine with sourdough garlic toast.
All three of us here at Stonekettle Station give this soup two thumbs up with a snap and a tail wag. Good stuff, you really gotta get you some of this.
Next post - Clam Chooowdah.
Update - A point of procedure: What the hell is the plural of Kreplach? Is it kreplaches? Kreplachi? Kreptephemeri? What?