when i was a kid, my ‘aunt’ irma lived with us. auntie irma wasn’t an actual relative of ours – we just called her aunt. and to specify that: around our house, aunt irma didn’t even really have a name – she was just called ‘the aunt’. why, you ask? well, of course i never asked why, as a kid… somehow, the fact that we called her aunt never seemed stranged to me back then. it just seemed to be the decent thing to call an elderly austrian lady with no (imminent) family. plus, i might add, she clearly was the auntie type, with neatly starched and ironed aprons on every day. you know, the flowery kind. and a perfectly styled bun of identical shape every single day i knew her. so the title ‘the aunt’ fitted her really well – and it was some kind of an honor, given as it sounded so superlative…
the aunt used to stay with our family at our house for several months on end each year. that was perfect, given as my mom was working, too, and not always at home. i learned such a lot from the aunt – and i loved her dearly (this is not the entire thruth, though… i also feared her, sometimes. she was very severe. the kind with hair on her teeth, you know. quite frightening – from a kid’s perspective). she tought me all kinds of things; from telling all sorts of wild herbs apart, to ironing and sewing, and, most importantly, she introduced me to the secrets of the austrian cuisine. like marillenknödel, kaiserschmarrn, zwetschgendatschi, ribiselntorte and flädlesuppe, for example. and griessnockerlsuppe, of course.
ah, how i loved this soup. i would happily eat it all week. when i suddenly thought of it last friday, it struck me how long i haven’t had any, and the fact actually made me sad. a little like betraying the aunt, maybe… so i snuck some things out of my pantry and started on griessnockerln for a dinner à deux with my bf. it was so nice, and it tasted just like 20 years ago… how quickly time flies.
griessnockerlsuppe (semolina dumplings soup)
2 tbsp. warm water
1 pinch salt, plus more for cooking
twice the egg-weight semolina (not exactly a science, there)
(vegetable) broth or home-made stock
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
beat up the eggs into a bowl, add semolina. not too much at first, so that you can add more later if necessary. add the water. season with salt and pepper. if the dough is too hard, add more water. if it’s too liquid, add more semolina. the dough should be lightly ‘shapeable’. let sit for 10 to 30 minutes. in the meantime, heat the vegetable stock or broth in a large saucepan. in another saucepan, heat well salted water (to cook the dumplings later).
use to tablespoons to shape the dumplings. slide them into the hot (not boiling) water. proceed one by one and cook them for 10 to 15 minutes. place the carrots in the broth. then turn the heat of the dumplings saucepan off – but let them sit in the hot water for another 10 minutes or so.
take the dumplings out with a sieve. put in soup plate, and pour some broth and carrots over them. serve hot. you can also add a little parsley on top.
i hope the aunt would have been proud of me… i hope you like it just as much as i do. that way, the aunt’s tribute lives on.
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