Komler, Norwegian Potato Dumplings
If I had to guess without actually asking him, I'd say Komler is R's favorite meal. He talks about his mother's Komler all the time, and put in a request for them the first time I traveled to Norway to meet his family. He brags that his mother's Komler are the best in the country, better even than any restaurant version he's ever had. That makes me pretty spoiled, because her's are the only ones I've ever eaten. Komler are basically potato dumplings, with a little nugget of bacon stuffed inside, boiled in meat stock. I have to say that, although this is his mother's recipe, her version is better because she makes them in the stock left from boiling a piece of salt mutton. I wish we had been able to be that authentic, but instead his mother suggested we use bullion or beef stock. She stressed that the stock is only supposed to be as salty as a soup, so with a premade bullion or beef stock, there's no reason to add extra salt.
R has always had this dish served with a side of boiled turnips and carrots (either mashed or served whole), along with a Norwegian-type sausage called Vossakorv, such as the one shown here (this is from a Norwegian meat company, but it's a good shot of the sausage), and a shower of bacon bits browned in butter and their own renderings. We bought our Vossakorv at Nordic Delicacies in Bay Ridge Brooklyn.
R's Family Komler
300 grams boiled potatoes
600 grams raw potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
60 grams barley flour
120 grams all purpose flour
1 liter beef stock, or bullion dissolved in water, or the water left from boiling a piece of salt mutton
1 piece of bacon, about 1" thick, diced into cubes about 1/2" large
1 piece of bacon, diced to small pieces
butter for cooking the bacon
Using a food processor with the grating disk, grate the raw and boiled potatoes. The boiled potatoes will act as a glue to hold the raw potatoes together during cooking. Transfer the grated potatoes to a bowl and add the salt and both of the flours. Stir together to form a dough.
In the meantime, if using a stock, pour it into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that no bubbles break the surface. Wet your hands and a spoon large enough to hold a dumpling about the size of a tennis ball. Using your hands, mound the potato dough into a ball, and insert a piece of bacon in the center. Set the komler on the spoon and lower it into the broth. Keep the komler sitting on the spoon while your roll the next ball. When the next ball is ready to go, slip the spoon out from under the komler (you might want to use another, smaller spoon to help loosen it). Repeat the process until all of the komler are sitting happily in the broth. Cook the komler for an hour and a half.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the diced bacon pieces and fry them until crispy. Serve the komler with boiled carrots and turnips, and with the bacon and butter poured over the top, as well as with sausage or salted mutton.