Recipe for Kreplach

When I got married and moved from Brooklyn to Ann Arbor, it was the first time I had lived away from home. It seemed important to me to show my parents that I was an adult. My method of demonstrating this was to make Kreplach, a time-honored tradition in our family. I made them, and reported my success in a phone call, but that still left something to be desired. I had made the entire recipe as it appears here, but since there were only two of us, instead of my Brooklyn family of 6, Michael and I were eating them for several days. As much as I love kreplach, after a few days, it’s enough already. (I didn’t know then that you can freeze them.) So I took one from the fridge, wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil, marked an envelope PLEASE HAND CANCEL, and sent it off as proof.

The package arrived intact, and my mother said the little krepple looked very nicely formed, although a bit too old to taste. My sister told me it was the funniest thing I had ever done. She went into hysterics when they opened the envelope. Only I would have thought of sending cooked pasta through the U.S. mail. It was just recently that she told me that when the thing arrived, it was several shades of green and had hair growing on it. My mother was much too kind to mention that.

So here’s the recipe. But please don’t mail them anywhere. I think they’ve now passed a law about that.

 

Jewish Ravioli

Or I would call ravioli Italian Kreplach.

It depends on who raised you.

WARNING! Read this entire recipe before you begin.*

About three months in advance of wanting to make kreplach, serve your family roast beef about once every two weeks. Always make a roast a little bigger than the family needs, and freeze the leftover piece. Soon you will have a bunch of little silver foil packets in the freezer, and you will wonder, “What am I going to do with all these little pieces of meat?”

Then you will be ready to make Kreplach.

THE DOUGH

Ingredients: 2 cups flour

salt (slightly less than a level teaspoon)

2 eggs

water

Here’s the rule: for each cup of flour, use one egg. Let’s start with two cups of flour. If it turns out we didn’t make enough for your family, you can do it again. If it turns out we made too many – no, forget it. There are never too many.

Put the flour in a bowl. In a cup, mix the eggs with about 1/3 cup of water and the salt. Make a crater in the flour and add the egg and water mixture, stirring it gently with a fork. Now the next step is hard to do in the bowl, so you have to spill the flour/egg mixture out onto a board or the kitchen table. Only you know how expensive your kitchen table was – so we leave this decision to you. Work the dough to combine all ingredients well. You might have to add a little more water or perhaps you should have used a little less to start with. All cooking is an experiment!

Knead the dough until smooth. It should be rather soft. Separate it into two balls and knead each one. If you feel that you do need a little more water, just add it one or two drops at a time and knead it in. If you find that you had too much water, add a little flour. Adding flour to the board or table will make it easier to work the dough and prevent sticking.

When the dough is made, cover it (you can just turn the bowl upside down and place it over the dough) and leave it alone for about half an hour. It’s going to get soft under there, and will be easier to roll out.

THE FILLING

Ingredients: 1 or 2 diced onions

oil

beef

Did you leave the little frozen pieces of meat in the regular part of the refrigerator over night so they would thaw? It would have been a good idea. But since you didn’t, just leave them out on the counter while you cook the onions.

After you dice the onions, saute them in oil. Cook slowly until translucent. Don’t let them get too brown. While the onions are cooking, cut the beef into small pieces. Add them to the onions. They will thaw the rest of the way. Let them get thoroughly heated and in the meantime they will pick up lots of yummy onion flavor. Salt the mixture to taste.

Do you have a meat grinder? Put the mixture through the grinder. Now you have your filling.

The problem when I was growing up was that the filling was so delicious that while my mother was rolling out the dough, we kids used to find excuses to come into the kitchen so we could snitch little pinches of filling. Only now am I able to understand why she used to find this so aggravating, especially since she had been saving that meat for three months. So put the filling in a safe place if you have children.

Did all that take half an hour? If so, you are ready for…

THE FINAL ASSEMBLY

On your board or table, roll out one ball of dough. It should be about an eighth of an inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the whole sheet into 3″-4″ squares. Lift up one square (start with a corner, it’ll be easier to get up) and place about a teaspoon of the filling into the center. BE SURE TO PUT THE FILLING ON THE UNDERSIDE of the dough. The underside is stickier and the kreplach will hold together better. Fold the square over to form a triangle and press the edges together firmly to seal the meat in. Repeat this until you have made all the kreplach.

At this point, I can never remember how many minutes to boil them. So I’d better do what I usually do – call my mother. Excuse me for a minute.

My mother said you cook them in boiling salt water for about 10 minutes. When done, drain them like any pasta. You can eat them in chicken soup, with pasta sauce, or with butter (that’s my way) or eat them cold the next day right out of the fridge – if, that is, you have any left to refrigerate. You can even make a big batch and freeze them (spread them out on a cookie sheet – and once frozen, put them all in a plastic bag) in anticipation of the day when you won’t have time for cooking. And my mother said that Aunt Tillie had her gall bladder out and didn’t even tell anyone she was going into the hospital. Oy!

OK, so you want to make kreplach right away and don’t want to wait three months. I suppose you could make a roast and use the whole thing for the kreplach, but I can’t imagine anybody doing that.

 

 

*otherwise you may find yourself having to run out and buy a meat grinder in the middle of everything.

 

 

Note: When I originally wrote this recipe out some years ago for a friend of mine, I was able to call my mother. Oh, how I wish that were still true today.

judyrose June 28, 2006

 

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Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 7:59 pm  Comments (28)  

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28 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Krepels

    Youdabess. I love you.

  2. pasta

    Judyrose has blogged about italian pasta.

  3. thank you, I needed to know how to REALLY make kreplach!!! your mom must have been thrilled!!!

  4. Hi Linda,
    Even if she wasn’t really thrilled, she made me feel like she was. Now THAT’s love!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It reminds me of watching my grandmother make kreplach. My son’s grandmother-in-law makes them like this and brings them when my daughter-in-law’s family comes to us for Rosh Hashanah but I would like to make them myself, as I am an accomplished cook (you know, if you like to eat, you become an accomplishedcook). Before my grandmother died I did ask her for the recipe, but of course, there were no proportions. I know that your recipe is the way she made the meat filling so now I can make my own “supply”. L’shanah tovah to you!

  6. Thank you, Joyce. My brother, who still lives in New York, watched the process enough times so that now he’s the one who makes Kreplach every year to take to the family’s gathering when they break the Yom Kippur fast. It’s been years since I’ve bothered, but maybe one of these days, I’ll cook up a batch myself.
    L’shanah tovah to you too!

  7. What about the Schmaltz???

  8. Hi Brad,
    There’s no schmaltz in Kreplach unless you’re playing Italian opera on the radio while you’re cooking them.
    Judy

  9. Judy – I ate my grandmother’s kreplach (the best), I ate my mother’s kreplach (second best), and I’ve eaten my kreplach (some good, some not so good). I use an Italian pasta roller gadget to roll out the dough (because I’m lazy) and once made them TOO thin and they fell apart. But what I miss is that lumpiness the dough had when my grandmother had finished rolling it out with her old rolling pin on her little formica kitchen counter. She and my mom got to taste mine once or twice, and out of love like your mom, never told me the whole truth. I’m making kreplach today, and I thank you for making me think of them.

    • Thanks Brian. Your comment made me think of my Mom too. I haven’t made Kreplach for many years, and as a result haven’t tasted them either. I’m just too far away from my family. Even if I get ambitious and make some for myself, it’s never going to be the same. But, oh the memories!

  10. My parents worked as a team – my father cooked and my mother stirred and provided the dishcloth whenever necessary (sort of like a surgeon and his assisting nurse). When it was ‘kreplach day’, my brother and I knew that leaving home (if only temporarily) was built into the recipe. When we eventually came back we found that there was no place to sit because kreplach were ‘resting’ on towels all over the apartment – and I do mean all over. We ate kreplach in all forms and with almost every meal. I’m not complaining. It seems that this particular dish evokes a kind of fanaticism in the cook. I will try your recipe, although with my own somewhat peculiar cooking style. I can only hope that the results would have impressed my father.

  11. Hi Sandy,
    Eating kreplach evokes memories of the people you ate them with all those years ago. Because it was such a “production” to make them, it didn’t seem worth it unless you made enough to feed an army. I can’t think of any occasion when they were made in small batches. I’m sure your father would have loved your cooking, even if only because it’s your cooking. ~Judy

  12. And now I REALLY miss my mother. With Purim coming up in a few weeks, I decided I need to make kreplach, and my mother passed about 10 years ago, so I figured I’d look for a recipe on the web. I got a recipe AND a wry smile, and a little tear in the corner of my eye.

    Somehow, I always get a tear in the corner of my eye when I’m making something my mother used to make. I’ve decided it makes the food taste better. And that I’m blaming it on the onions. (Admittedly, that’s hard to do when making her recipe for chocolate refrigerator cookies, but I’m sure there are onions in there somewhere, right?)

    My mother always loved my cooking, in part because it was so different from hers. I really learned to cook when I got a job in a French restaurant while in college. And of course, I couldn’t show off some of my skills, since she kept a kosher kitchen and I didn’t, so she couldn’t eat in my house. So I bought her good chef’s knives so that it would be easier for me to cook in her house. For her and my sisters, getting together for a long yomtov and not having to cook was a true mechayeh. I still love to cook for my sisters (though it meant I had to buy all of THEM good chef’s knives, too!).

    I can’t wait to make these. And I’m glad there are onions in there to make me feel less foolish for crying while I cook.

  13. Hi Ron,
    Thanks for this comment (and story). I know exactly what you mean.
    Judy

  14. I can’t remember enjoying reading a recipe so much! I want you as my bubbe! Thank you!

    • Hi Micah,
      Now, three and a half years after I posted this recipe, people are still reading it and writing to me. And in all that time, I still haven’t made any kreplach. I keep saying “some day.” Thank you so much for your comment. I would be honored to be your bubbe.
      Judy

  15. x

  16. My Mom (the best cook in the world) would make kreplach knowing that me, my brother, and father would make daring raids on the kitchen during the whole process to snatch filling and of course, the “ganse zach” when they were done. Her normal output was about 100, but she ended up with about 50 or 60 due to the predations of her determined and relentless menfolk. Of course this was the right amount for us, company, and to bring to family. What I wouldn’t do to have them all back now-why, I might even share some kreplach with you.

    • Hi Robert,
      Reading your comment, I’m sure your Mom’s kreplach were every bit as good as my Mom’s. Thanks for writing.
      Judy

  17. thanks for your wonderful recipe, made me laugh, and cry (how I wish I could phone my mother too)
    I love cooking, and don’t often cook the time honoured traditional foods of my parents and grandparents. It’s interesting that my children (now in their 20s) want the traditions to continue…will do my best to be a balebuste…

  18. I have never been able to duplicate the kreplach my grandmother made. Her heritage was eastern European and I know they didn’t have freezers or refrigerators. I can still remember the iceman deliveries, my grandparents didn’t have a refrigerator until after world war 2. Roast beef? I remember the stories of them going to the local butcher to ask for free meat for the cat – they didn’t have a cat and the butcher knew it. They used heart, lung and other meats. She had a cast iron hand meat grinder that weighed a ton. I wish I could find a kreplach recipe from the old country.

  19. EM.

  20. I WOULD APRICATE YOUR KREPLACH RECIPE.

  21. I love your story so much! I just came across a scribbled note in my mother’s cookbook about kreplach. I haven’t eaten them in over 20 years but soon I will make some. But first to serve the family a huge roast. Thanks for this. You may also be interested in my blog, it has many Jewish family recipes as well: walkercafe.wordpress.com

    • Thank you, Dori. I bet your kreplach will be delicious. I just looked at your blog and now I’m hungry. ~Judy

  22. Great recipe and touching story. I’m going to make this for my mom who is in a nursing home.
    Thanks,
    Maura

  23. I have invited several friends over for Thanksgiving this year. The request for soup was what we call Maurie’s Mishmash, an everything in it soup with noodles, kreplach, matzoh balls, chicken, celery, carrots, and onions. So out of love for this motly crew, I will be doing your recipe. The recipe I tried last year was ok but your’s sounds better. I can almost taste them as I write this to you. My friend’s mom passed many years ago and I can see the memories as he speaks about the the whole day event. I wish I would have been able to have her recipe, but I am glad to make yours this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for writing to me. I hope the recipe works well for you. I haven’t made them in years, but my Mom’s kreplach were always irresistible. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

      Judy


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