Zwiebel Schweinebraten mit Kartffel Knoedel - or, Pork Roast with Carmelized Onions and Potato Dumplings Recipe
Can you say that? I'll help you out-- say "Zweebel". Yeah, that's it! That means onion. You are looking at my all time, very favorite, sweet childhood memories of a dish my mother used to make for her kids. I have two brothers, who-- to this day-- can't get enough of my mother's Austrian Goulash with Bavarian Bread Dumplings. But, for me, my all-time favorite is Kartoffel Knoedel. I just love these! They are also called Kartoffel (potato) Kloesse-- but, I'll stick to my mother's deep Bavarian roots and I call them "knoedel". It's a tongue twister, if you don't speak German. Never mind! I love to eat these unique "dumplings" with a roasted pork roast and a gravy. I made this dish in early December, and I kept procrastinating posting this. The truth is, I cooked simply by instinct. I didn't measure a thing, and I wasn't sure I could explain how to make this. It's so simple, to me, but then again-- I grew up with this dish, and I've made it many times. I had used half of a boneless pork shoulder roast, when I made Transylvanian Goulash. Ideally, I like to make this with a pork loin roast. However, I improvised and made this meal in about an hour, using the other half of the pork loin roast-- let me show you how:
Bring the pork to room temperature (about 30-60 minutes). Thinly sliced two large onions and drizzle a little bit of olive oil-- gently combine to distribute the oil, evenly. Preheat the oven to 425F. If your oven runs really hot-- then preheat to 375F. Season the pork roast with kosher salt & pepper. If desired, use about 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds-- I didn't, this time, since my husband isn't crazy about them.
In an oven-proof skillet (or a Dutch oven), add just enough olive oil to coat the pan. Crank the heat up and wait for the oil to shimmer-- and just start to smoke. Go for it! Without moving the roast, sear each side until golden brown-- about 5 minutes per side. Splatter shields are very useful, because it does make a bit of a mess-- but it's worth the flavor. The gravy has so much flavor, this way! Once the roast is evenly seared, add the onion all around the roast-- and put it into the oven (uncovered) until it reaches between 145-150F (the roast will continue to cook.) Depending on the size of your roast, this can take an average of 40 minutes. A thermometer is invaluable, so you don't cook the pork to death-- and it's turns out dry. I prefer my pork slightly pink, contrary to my mother's generation that believed you had to cook it to death! So there!
Remove the roast, loosely cover with foil and set aside. With a slotted spoon, remove the onion and set that aside.
I sometimes wish I had doubled the onion-- I love caramelized onion.
The powdered mix is simply whisked into water and in about 15 minutes, it's very thick. This is not rocket science...
I used an ice cream scoop to help the dumplings to be even-sized. One thing my mother used to do-- but I never liked it-- is to cut 1-2 slices of toast into small pieces and to stuff them in the middle. I could never bond with that, but go ahead and try it. More power to you! My husband wouldn't know the difference, because he had never tried these before.
20 minutes later...
How do I describe these? The texture is soft... gummy (from the potato starch) and they don't pack a ton of flavor. So, are you wondering why I love these so much?
...it's the sauce. It's the art of knowing how to eat this-- cut it in half, then into a few more bite-sized pieces. Dunk it in the sauce... oh, I want my mommy! I just love these! I would have loved some caraway in this, but-- maybe next time.
There's a rhythm to enjoying this dish-- a bite of pork, with some onion wrapped around it-- a bite of dumpling and gravy-- then a bite of Bavarian Red Cabbage. My husband really liked this dish, and it's so easy! Sometimes, my mother would make this pork roast and she served her German Potato Salad (still warm-- not hot-- because it was freshly made). She'd pour a little gravy over the potato salad-- heaven! My brother's loved this even more.
I need to pick up another pork loin roast, so I can make this again. If anyone has a tried & true recipe for making the potato dumplings-- please let me know! The recipes I saw didn't make sense-- most talked about boiling cooked mashed potatoes, and that doesn't sound right. Somehow, I think I need to use raw or par-boiled potatoes and to rice them. I'd love to break free of buying a mix!