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Mains, Sides


Los Angeles Times

Rivels means lumps. Children in Pennsylvania Dutch communities learn this at an early age. That's because rivels are loved by every child, much like macaroni and cheese. It's a fondness few outgrow. Growing up with a Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother, I ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk

Step 1Bring lightly salted water to boil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.

Step 2Meanwhile, stir the flour, salt, eggs and milk together in a large bowl until they form a thick batter, adding more milk if necessary to form a dough. Working in small batches, press the dough through a colander with 1/4-inch holes into the boiling liquid, using a spoon. (Or press through a ricer or spaetzle machine or drop the batter by small teaspoonfuls into the boiling water.) Boil gently, stirring once or twice, until the rivels rise to the surface and are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or drain them in a colander. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Step 3You can toss the hot rivels in melted butter to prevent them from sticking. Or, you can fry them in melted butter until they're golden. Serve plain or dress up with any desired toppings.

Note: Suggested toppings: Melted or browned butter; fried bacon, drained and crumbled; bread crumbs browned in butter; onion slices fried until golden brown; assorted wild mushrooms sauteed in butter; sour cream and caraway seeds; grated cheese; hot gravy; sauerkraut or pickled red cabbage; grilled smoked German sausages.
During the spring and early summer when her garden greened, Grandma would occasionally embellish her rivel batter with chopped spinach or dandelion (cooked and squeezed dry), fresh herbs, pinches of nutmeg and/or grated sharp cheeses. But most often she kept it simple. The flourish came later with the toppings. Rivels make sublime side dishes, especially when dressed up. A big bowl of rivels also makes an absolutely comforting kitchen supper.


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