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Schnitz und Knepp (Ham with Dried Apples and Dumplings)

Serves 6 to 8

Schnitz und Knepp is an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe meaning 'Apples and Buttons'. It is made with dried apples, the Schnitz, ham and dumplings, which are the Knepp or buttons. It is a kind of 'sweet and sour' dish, the apples being tart and the brown sugar adding a little sweetness. Schnitz und Knepp takes some time to cook, but it is relatively easy to prepare and makes a delicious, comforting main dish. My grandmother and mother always added potatoes, but they are not included in some recipes, so the choice is yours.



In a large pot, cover ham with cold water. Bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 2 hours or until ham is tender. Meanwhile, put apples in bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 2 hours. Remove ham from bone and cut into medium pieces. Return ham to pot. Add apples with most of apple liquid. Add brown sugar and onion. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer an additional 30 minutes.

For dumplings, sift or whisk together sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter with two knives or pastry cutter. Stir in egg. Gradually add enough milk to make a moist, fairly stiff dough, gently stirring just enough to bring it together. Drop dough by tablespoons into simmering stew. Cover tightly and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until dumplings are done. Serve immediately.

Notes: You can make dumplings using your favorite baking mix. Follow the directions on the box. Tart dried apples are sometimes difficult to find, but can be ordered from various sources. If you have a dehydrator, you can make your own. Either way, make certain to use tart, not sweet apples. Schnitz und Knepp is typically served with a PA Dutch salad with hot bacon dressing, which is in the similar and related recipes.