Yesterday was our company picnic out at Hauser Lake. Those in the office whose last names began with"A-J" were supposed to bring a salad, last names "K-Z" were to bring a dessert.
I chose neither and decided to make my great-grandmother's recipe for "knuckles". My great-grandmother, along with my great-grandfather and two small children (one of them my 2-year old grandfather) emigrated from what is now Stara Voda, Slovakia (then it was a province in the Austria-Hungary Empire) to Niehart, Montana in 1895 to work in the silver mines. While my great-grandfather was from Stara Voda, my great-grandmother was actually from Budapest. We suspect that "knuckles" was how Montanans grew to pronounce "gnocchi" over time.
Here is the recipe:
Grate 6 potatoes (red or yukon gold work good). Add 2 cups of flour and one beaten egg in a large bowl, adding more flour if necessary to make it less sticky. On a floured surface, knead the dough 20-30 times, then let it rest for half an hour. Then, roll it out and cut it into bite size pieces.
Get a large pot of salted water boiling and boil the potato dumplings a few at a time. When they float up, they are cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a warm bowl, and continue cooking the rest.
Meanwhile, dice up 1/2 or 3/4 pound of salt pork (be sure to remove the tough pig skin from it first), or a pound of bacon cut into slices. Fry those up. Grate 2 cups of sharp cheddar.
After the last dumplings have been cooked, dump the water from the pot, then place the dumplings back in the pot on low heat. Add the grated cheese, a small carton of cottage cheese, and stir. If it seems a little dry, add a bit of sour cream to the mixture. Stir in the bacon/salt pork bits and its done.
This dish was big hit at the company picnic. People would come up and rave about my potatoes, only to have my wife, who is into more healthier things, correct them and tell them, "Its not potatoes, its dough".
Oh well. A little Slovakian peasant food once a year is goog for the soul.