North Carolina food writer Elena Rosemond-Hoerr discovers a homey and delicious recipe that also happens to be a family heirloom.
I’ve been on a quest to understand how my family’s history is interwoven into the history of my home state, North Carolina. My family, Rosemonds and Ballengers and Caudells and Walkers (and on and on), has roots in this state that go back centuries. One of the most interesting components to exploring that has been through food, particularly the food that is important to my family and the food that is important to my state.
A few years ago, my Uncle Ted and Aunt Ann taught me how to make my great grandmother Flossie's pound cake. While we were together talking about food, Uncle Ted told me about one of his favorite family recipes, a Caudell family favorite: Sauerkraut and Dumplings.
WATCH: How to Make Chicken and Dumplings
Flossie was from St. Pauls, North Carolina, and her family was the blend of Scots-Irish and English that was typical of the Southern piedmont. While Ted wasn’t sure of the origins of the recipe, it appears as though somewhere along the line a twist of German inspiration made its way into the family recipe book.
Sauerkraut and Dumplings is as straightforward as it sounds. The sauerkraut is made quickly on the stove with fennel and apple cider vinegar and topped with light and fluffy dumplings. The combination is wonderful—the tangy vinegar and the salty dumplings, the crunch of the cabbage contrasting with the lightness of the dough. After making it myself, I understand why it’s a beloved family recipe that has been passed down through generations.