Komle: Norwegian potato dumplings
Pair these rich dumplings with buttermilk or pilsner for a perfect winter dish
Komle goes by many regional names: klubber, raspeboller, or simply boller. They are slightly salty dumplings, served warm, and made with potatoes—Norway’s national vegetable. You will want to use large starchy potatoes instead of the small waxy varieties for this recipe.
I first tried komle during my early months in Norway and have been enjoying them ever since. Served with all the accompaniments, komle can be quite heavy, which makes it the perfect dish for winter or fall. Komle is traditionally served with buttermilk or a pilsner beer.
1 large (500-gram/~1-pound) pork knuckle or 2 medium lightly smoked ham hocks
2 medium (~170 gram/6 ounces) starchy potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed
6 medium (~500 grams/18 ounces) raw starchy potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
85 grams (2/3 cup) barley flour
60 grams (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
Shredded meat from the pork knuckle or ham hock
Cooked bacon, cut into bits
Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water and set on high heat. When the water begins to boil, add the pork knuckle or ham hock and cook at a low or medium simmer for one hour. Remove the cooked meat and set it aside to cool. Retain the cooking liquid in the pot; it will be used to cook the dumplings.
Using your hands or using a piece of cheesecloth, squeeze the raw, grated potatoes to get rid of as much water as possible. Place the squeezed raw potato in a large bowl, and add the remaining ingredients, and mix until well combined. The dough will look very wet at this stage but should clump together easily. If not, add a bit more flour to the dough until it clumps together easily.
With wet hands, shape the dough into six medium or eight small dumplings. If you like, in the center of each dumpling, stuff a small piece of shredded pork from the cooked pork knuckle or ham hock.
Return the cooking liquid to boiling. With a slotted spoon, lower the dumplings into the boiling water one by one. Decrease the heat to a constant simmer. (If the water boils while the dumplings are cooking, they will fall apart.) Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the dumplings float to the surface and are no longer raw in the middle.
Serve the dumplings immediately with the accompaniments and/or some of the cooking broth. If you have leftovers, chill them overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, slice the dumplings into rounds, lightly pan fry in butter or bacon fat, and serve with any of the remaining accompaniments on the side.
Whitney Love is a cookbook author and blogger. She hails from Tucson, Arizona and is currently living in Stavanger, Norway. She runs the English language blog Thanks For The Food where she documents her love affair with Norway through the lens of traditional and modern Norwegian gastronomy. Find her online at thanksforthefood.com.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 21, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.