Crispy Kreplach/photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman

My neighbor, Lois Baron, gave me a version of this recipe, which calls for roasting and braising a beef brisket. When I told her I intended to give it a shot using leftover pot roast she said, excellent idea! Kreplach, a great way to make use of leftovers. Kreplack are often called Jewish ravioli, a staple of Jewish cuisine. Consistent with that cuisine, the main item is cooked, then it’s cooked again, and then its cooked again. (Why is this?!) At least in Lois’s recipe. A brisket is roasted, then it’s braised, then it’s ground with seasonings and egg, wrapped in dough, boiled, cooled then cooked to serve. That’s three times that it gets fully cooked before being eaten. These are traditionally used in soup, and they’re great that way, but Lois fried some for me and they were out of this world. There’s something about the texture that’s really really satisfying when they’re fried crispy. And given the opportunity to fry, I say fry! I served these ones last night on shredded sautéed cabbage to which I’d added chicken stock, whole grain mustard and a few drops of red wine vinegar.
Lois’s dough is perfect—supple and soft enough to roll thin, but dry enough that I had no problem rolling it out without its sticking. I happen to have boffo bicycle cutter thanks to Opensky for perfect uniformity, but a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or pairing knife works fine, too; these measured a little under 3 inches square.
I used egg wash to make sure they had a good seal. I folded them into simple triangles and boiled them. Lois says her mom always had a batch of these in the freezer. Indeed, make a double batch; they’re great to have on hand for a last minute meal.

Beef Kreplach

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound cooked beef, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced and sauteed till transluscent, cooled
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • oil for pan frying
  1. Make the dough by combining the flour, 2 eggs and water in the bowl of a standing mixer and mixing till the dough is baby’s-bottom smooth. You may have to finish it by hand (or do it start to finish by hand). Wrap in plastic and set aside.
  2. Make the filling by combining the meat, 1 egg, the onion, salt, black pepper, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor and pulse till it’s pureed. (You can also do this by passing the mixture through a meat grinder then stirring in the egg; if you want the onions to remain chunky, fold them into the mixture after the meat is puréed or ground.)
  3. Roll out the dough to less than 1/8th inch thick. Cut 3-inch squares as pictured above. Put a teaspoon of the meat in the center of each.  Mix the last egg with a little water and brush it on adjacent sides of each square, then enclose the filling in a triangular shape, sealing dry edge to egg-washed edge.
  4. Boil the dumplings in salted water till the pasta is cooked, 3 or 4 minutes.  Drain and chill beneath running water or in the cooking pot.
  5. When ready to cook, heat a large pan with enough oil to coat the bottom by about an eighth of an inch over medium high heat and sauté the dumplings till they’re golden brown and delicious as they are in the lead photo.
This makes about 40 kreplach.

 

Checking my two best tomes on Jewish cooking, I see that Lois’s dough is identical to one of them, though she didn’t know about the book. If you want to know more about Jewish cooking, I highly recommend Arthur Schwartz’s excellent and beautifully published Jewish Home Cooking.  (But why “home” cooking; isn’t Jewish cuisine defined by home cooking? Is there a lot of Jewish restaurant cooking? How about a Jewish tailgating party book? Actually the reason for it isn’t a good one, so I shouldn’t make light; so much of Jewish cuisine was defined by poverty and life in ghettos. But the fact is, Jewish cooking is the quintessential home cooking, which is why I love it.)

 

The other great book I use is by this country’s doyenne of Jewish cuisine, Joan Nathan: Jewish Cooking In America. Both books are rich with story and recipes.
If you liked this post on the great Jewish dumpling, kreplach, check out these other links:

© 2012  Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved

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60 Wonderful responses to “Kreplach (Dumplings)”

  • JRR

    Any way you could list the Metric weights (even US weights would be fine) that you used?

    • Chappy

      As a general rule flour is 120gm per cup. A cup is of water is 8 fluid ounces and a weight of roughly an ounce (28gm or about 56 gm for a quarter cup). Not really sure why you’d need to weigh the eggs or onion since the measurements aren’t that exact. And I’m definitely not sure why you would weigh black pepper or paprika when you can measure it. Either you are concerned about false accuracy or, if you have a scale that sensitive, then you are a cocaine dealer.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      i’d say the flour was 280 gms, the eggs were about 110 gms. but it’s all mainly common sense.

      • Chappy

        You used quail eggs or just the yolks if they only weighed that much. Large eggs weigh about 50 gms each (per Keller or Gourmet Slueth ingredient calculator). 4 eggs*50gm=200gm.

  • Laura @MotherWouldKnow

    You’re so right. Jewish cooking is home cooking. Though you can get it in a great Jewish restaurant or deli, the better the restaurant or deli, the more it seems like you’re in a Jewish home, complete with a well-intentioned-but-possibly-overbearing cook/mother/waiter telling you what to eat, how much to eat (more) and what you must try (not that, here, eat this :) )

  • Terrie

    I have a beef tongue in freezer and have been wondering what to do with it. I bet it would work beautifully for these! Thanks for the recipe!

  • sundevilpeg

    Thanks! My source for kreplach in Chicagoland suffered a disastrous fire last year, and my mish-mosh soup just isn’t the same without a dumpling or two. Thanks a million!

  • Sherry

    The Kreplach look excellent, nice job! If you’re interested in Jewish cooking, I highly recommend “Miriam’s Kitchen” by Elizabeth Ehrlich, winner of a National Jewish Book Award. It’s not a cookbook per se, but it has some recipes and is a wonderful and inspiring read.

    Also, when making filled dumpling-esque foods, I’ve found it easier to apply the egg wash before filling the critters. One doesn’t have to be so careful to avoid getting filling on the brush…I think it’s faster and more efficient. YMMV, of course.

  • Sheryl

    God, I love kreplach. My grandmother made cheese kreplach that were boiled and eaten with salt, pepper, butter and sour cream – pretty decadent. My brother and I grew up addicted to the stuff. They were fairly labor intensive to make and we only got them when we visited my grandmother or she visited us (she lived in Boston), so we seldom had the opportunity to eat them. Of course, their rarity made them even more desirable; however, sadly, the recipe died with my father. My grandmother and he were the only ones who knew exactly how to make them, and they never shared the family secret. My grandmother also made cheese knishes, and my mother made cheese blintzes, also wonderful memories. The one thing I’ve noticed is that most cheese blintzes, for example, are sweet. And most kreplach recipes I’ve seen are made wtih potato with or without some type of cheese, or beef, not just a cheese filling. In our house, all three of these items were always made with a savory filling – knishes with a cheese mixture and caramelized onions, the other two also with a mixture of cheeses – maybe pot or farmer cheese, maybe cream cheese and maybe an egg or eggs. I’ve just never known for sure. It haunts me a little. My father’s parents were of Russian descent and my mother’s side of the family was Polish. Not sure why the recipes I grew up with are not more common. If anyone out there has such a recipe, particularly for the cheese kreplach or savory cheese blintzes, please post it. I’ve also looked at pierogi recipes, although pierogi are qualitatively different from what I’m talking about. Anyway, I miss those kreplach.

    • Ohiogirl

      Sheryl,

      I suggest you get a copy of “Love and Knishes”. It’s out of print but you can find used copies still. I am of Russian, Austrian and Lithuanian descent and this book has helped me find the recipes of my grandmothers that I never wrote down. Her chicken soup is spot on and, her cheese blintzes are not sweet perfection. The blintze recipe alone is worth the price of the book. Good luck and thanks to Michael for bringing a home treat to light!

  • tim

    I enjoy your easy going spirit it is so important in life. I have been cooking for many years as a occupation and it takes sometime to be at home in the kitchen Thank you for a fun recipe. stay cool and enjoy!

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    MMmmmm what time did you say Dinner was Friday? I don’t think there is a food or a region in this world that doesn’t have some form of a dumpling in their cuisine, although I cannot recall if the French Canadians have – anyone know?

  • allen

    I think I could amend Michael Symon’s beef cheek pirogi recipe and make it a little less labor intensive (thought they are well worth the effort!) with these gems.

  • Tracy

    I really enjoy your site + loved the Kreplach recipe w/ your story. My great Aunt Eva used to make these + I just loved them. So happy to see the food proc. recipe, otherwise too labor intensive for me. She also used to make the crepes for blintzes ( we stored them in the freezer- otherwise they would disappear in 5 min.) she used water in her recipe. I guess from poor peasant handing down the recipe. I loved them + couldn’t tell that there was no milk in the batter.

  • Maureen

    Our neighbors were Jewish and made kreplach dumplings frequently and one day I came home with a dish of them. I’ve never tried making them but maybe I will now.

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    Cleek, Wow..I had no idea that dumplings existed in their food culture especially made like these.. Glissants…probably came about via Canada’s Dominion as a colony of United Kingdom; a drop dumpling interesting and thank you

  • Todd

    If you’re looking for a great Jewish Cookbook, the entire Toronto Jewish community relies on the “Second Helpings”. It was a fundraising project from one of the local synagogues in the 1960′s which has been regularly updated. It’s available used on Amazon.com.

  • Stevie Pierson

    I love your site and these sound/look incredible. I wrote The Brisket Book. A Love Story With Recipes and only wish one of your recipes was in it. But then I’d have to charge more! Thanks for making the world more delicious!

  • Dana @FoodieGoesHealthy

    Michael- thank you for posting this recipe. These look delicious. I have been wanting to make these for a long time. I remember eating these as a child– my mother’s best friend used to make them for parties. As a shortcut, I bet you could use wonton wrappers for the dough. Also, what a great use for leftovers.

  • Maya

    This looks really great. I feel like kreplach was something that my jewish grandmother always used to talk about eating as a young girl, but never made for me. Although I’ve had more than my fair share of pierogi at Veselaka in New York. I don’t have any type of mixer or blender, but I’m thinking this could still all be done by hand, don’t you think?

  • Emily

    I have such a sentimental attachment to kreplach. I was making them in my kitchen one day in preparation for a Purim party I was hosting, when my dad called me to say hello. When I told him what I was working on, he started to tear up because it brought back memories of his mother (my grandmother, who died before I was born) doing the exact same thing. Now I think of her whenever I make them. P.S. I like stuffing them with duxelles if you need an option for vegetarian guests.

  • Michele Jacobson

    I just came across this website, and so glad I did! My nana taught me to make kreplach as well, and she also used one of two fillings: either chopped meat made special or leftover brisket. I still put aside what’s left at the bottom of the brisket pan, drained of the drippings, for this purpose. Now, however, I am a vegetarian, and yet I still crave kreplach every winter. What I do is buy a soy meat product and make it like my nana did. I fry up finely chopped onions, salt and pepper, etc. It’s not exactly the same of course, but close enough to make me feel close to her. Amazingly, I just made it yesterday. Thanks for the memories!

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