Potato Celery Root Dumplings
Canederli al Cumino

serves: serves 6

These tasty canederli are fried and baked rather than poached, with a potato-cake crustiness that is delicious any time of day. Serve them with eggs for a special breakfast or brunch, with a salad for lunch, or with juicy meats, like the Chicken in Beer, or Beef Braised in Beer. And they are also good (though not crusty) if you poach them-follow the procedures for the preceding Canederli di Speck.

1 pound whole celery root, rinsed well but not peeled
1 pound russet potatoes
5 tablespoons butter
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour

recommended equipment
Food Mill;


Put the celery root in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, and heat to a boil. Lower the heat a bit, and simmer the celery root for about 20 minutes; then drop in the potatoes (and raise the heat to bring the water back to the simmer). Cook the vegetables together just until they are cooked through and can be pierced easily with a skewer or sharp knife. Depending on size, the celery root needs 40 minutes to an hour, and the potatoes will take 20 to 30 minutes.

When done, remove the vegetables to a colander to drain and cool until you can handle and peel them. To peel celery root, scrape the skin off with the dull side of a paring knife, then cut out any bits of skin in the folds or any tough, knobby parts. Press the cooked, peeled vegetables through a ricer or food mill into a large mixing bowl, and blend them together.

If the celery root is too fibrous to pass through a food ricer, cut it into chunks and drop them into food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until smooth, then blend with the potatoes. Don't put the potatoes into the food processor, because it will make them gummy.

While the root vegetables are simmering, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, stir in the onion, and cook until slightly softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool.

Before mixing the dough, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees.

When the celery root and potatoes are mashed and mixed, stir in the onion, chives, marjoram, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour in the egg yolks, and blend in well. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour on top, and work it in, forming a stiff, sticky dough.

Spread the remaining 1/2 cup flour on the baking sheet. With floured hands, form the dough into twelve patties, about 1 1/2 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Dredge them in the flour, coating both sides, and set them on one side of the tray.

To fry the canederli: Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the big skillet, and set it over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to bubble, shake excess flour off the patties of dough and lay them in the pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove them to paper towels to drain.

Clean the dredging flour from the baking sheet, arrange the fried canederli on it, and set in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the canederli are crisp and cooked through. Serve hot.