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Speckknöedel in smoked chicken broth

Speckknöedel are Austrian speck dumplings made with bread. If you don't want to smoke the chicken carcasses for the broth, you could roast some chicken bones instead and make a stock with a smoked ham bone. The flavour won't be as intense, but it'll be delicious nonetheless.

You'll need

12 thin speck slices 2 bunches baby asparagus, trimmed   Smoked chicken broth 1 kg hickory or other dense woodchips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, drained 3 kg chicken carcasses 1 each carrot, onion and celery stalk, coarsely chopped 1 each fresh bay leaf and thyme sprig 2 garlic cloves, bruised 1 tsp black peppercorns   Speckknöedel 1 tbsp olive oil 230 gm speck, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 150 gm stale coarse sourdough breadcrumbs 80 gm sour cream 50 gm (1/3 cup) plain flour 4 eggs 15 gm softened butter 65 gm (1/3 cup) sauerkraut rinsed, drained and finely chopped, plus extra to serve 1 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley For shallow-frying: vegetable oil


  • 01
  • For smoked chicken broth, preheat a coal-bedded kettle barbecue to medium heat and set up for indirect grilling (see note). Add one-quarter of woodchips around coals and cook until smoke appears.
  • 02
  • Place chicken carcasses on barbecue and smoke, covered and turning occasionally, until golden and well flavoured (30-40 minutes).
  • 03
  • Transfer chicken carcasses to a large saucepan with remaining ingredients, cover with water, bring to the simmer over medium heat, skim scum from surface and cook over low heat until well flavoured (2-3 hours). Strain through a fine sieve, skim fat from surface and return 1.5 litres broth to a clean saucepan. Remaining broth can be frozen for 3 months.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for speckknöedel, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add speck and onion and sauté until tender (8-10 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper, then transfer to a bowl, add breadcrumbs, sour cream, flour, eggs, butter, sauerkraut and parsley, season to taste, mix to combine. Stand until slightly firm (30 minutes), then shape into 2cm-diameter dumplings. Just before serving, heat vegetable oil to 1cm deep in a large frying pan and shallow-fry dumplings in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (2-3 minutes). Drain briefly on aborbent paper, then transfer to serving bowls.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Place speck on an oven tray lined with baking paper, roast until crisp (10-15 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 06
  • Bring broth to the simmer over medium-high heat, add asparagus and cook until tender (2-4 minutes). Ladle over dumplings and serve hot with speck slices, sauerkraut and chervil sprigs.

Note Indirect grilling is cooking away from the heat, using the top rack. It's important to have your coal base well established and glowing before adding woodchips. Refer to your barbecue manual for instructions.

Smoking tips

When smoking inside, ensure your kitchen is well ventilated, with the extractor fan on high and any windows open, to avoid triggering smoke alarms.

A well-sealed vessel is essential for smoking. Use two baking trays of exactly the same size, and seal the join with long strips of foil, crimping the edges tightly.

If you are using regular baking trays to smoke, line the base and sides of each one with several layers of foil. This will make them easier to clean and minimise tainting.

Alternatively, disposable aluminium trays are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Opt for the sturdier ones for ease of handling.

Be precise with your timing, including the amount of time you stand the smoking vessel before you uncover it. Any greater length of time could result in an acrid, unpleasant flavour. We suggest taking the trays outside when uncovering them.

Make sure your woodchips are dry and dense to begin with. Each variety imparts a different flavour, so try experimenting with different ones to find your favourite.

The recipes we've produced here all use a hot-smoking method, where a direct heat source is used. The other method used by some manufacturers of smoked products is cold smoking, where the smoke is created in a chamber separate from the product to be smoked. In this case, the lower the temperature while smoking for a longer period of time, the more smoke flavour will be imparted.

Kettle-style barbecues (such as those made by Weber) are excellent for smoking as you can use them outside and they have a small compact chamber. If you're using any other type of barbecue, check the manufacturer's instructions before building a fire base.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

German-style wheat beer.

Featured in

Sep 2010

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