Michael Anthony, BA’90, who is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of the IU Alumni Magazine, got his culinary start in a Bloomington rental house by testing recipes on his roommates before becoming a renowned New York City chef.
His cookbook, V is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks—from Artichokes to Zucchini, is a nod to his grandmother and parents (who met at IU). “The cookbook,” he says, “is my attempt to show people how my family cooks at home.”
Enjoy his take on potato dumplings with an excerpt and recipe from his cookbook. Bon appétit!
Granmaw Hartle’s Potato Dumplings
I was very excited to update this standard of the supper table that my mother grew up eating in her German parents’ kitchen, a recipe that came from their family in Indiana and Ohio. Turns out that this recipe, known as “pot pie,” was a cornerstone of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.
As in the kitchens of all working-class families, the dumplings were simplified over the years to match families’ limited time and budgets. My grandfather worked on a railroad; my grandmother ran a school cafeteria.
For me, the most interesting part of this recipe is not the culinary complexity—in my childhood I considered these dumplings literally cooked starch—but I love the idea of using the emotions of home cooking as a starting point for soulful dishes. So, when I began to experiment with the dumplings, I didn’t look to my technical background to remake this recipe; instead, I started with the love that my mother has for this recipe, then I lightened the dumplings with vegetables and simmering broth.
Now these dumplings are more than comfort food; they remind us that there’s nothing more contemporary than being inspired by the soulfulness of the past.
- 3⁄4 pound unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 stalk salsify, peeled and diced
- 1 leek (white and pale green parts), halved and thickly sliced
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large dice
- 1⁄2 cup flour, plus more for rolling
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons grated Gruyère
- 1 egg, whisked
- Small handful roughly chopped fresh dill
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Lightly coat the potatoes with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then wrap them in aluminum foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the carrots, salsify, salt, and pepper and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the leeks, simmer for a couple minutes, then add the chicken and poach until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the broth, and set aside.
Peel the baked potatoes, then pass them through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, cheese, egg, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. If the mixture is too dry to form a dough, add a couple drops of water. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for a minute or two, then roll out and fold it onto itself a couple of times to give it a little body. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick and cut into rough squares.
Return the broth to a brisk simmer, add the dumplings, and cook until they float, about 3 minutes. Add the poached chicken back to the pan and add the dill, salt, and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls.
Michael Anthony was featured in the Summer 2018 issue of the Indiana University Alumni Magazine, a magazine for members of the IU Alumni Association. To view the current and past issues of the IUAM, visit MyIU.org.