Tonight we had elephant ears for dinner! Not the kind you get at the county fair. This recipe comes from my mother's sister Vivian who is no longer living. She was one of my favorite aunts. She was a happy person and a great cook, quilter, singer and all around loving person.

Several years ago I put together a collection of recipes from my mother's family. It's a collection of recipes that we remember from family get-togethers over the years, as well as family favorites. Both aunts and cousins contributed to this collection and it's one of my favorite little cookbooks. There are recipes in the booklet that are our favorites and I make them over and over.

This particular recipe is a favorite of mine. Growing up in a Mennonite home, where cooking was an important part of daily life, comfort food or country cooking was what we ate.  There was no gourmet food and many times the food we did eat was a result of 'whatever was in the pantry'.  Sometimes it was just cooked elbow macaroni and a quart jar of home canned whole tomatoes added in!

Since I'm focusing on moderation this year in this blog, I wanted to look at this particular recipe and see how I could make it a healthier option. It's one of those recipes that we eat in moderation because it's not necessarily a 'lite' meal. But...the taste is outstanding!

The recipe calls for 2 quarts of ham broth. What I did was save the broth from a ham we cooked at Christmas. After freezing it, all the fat collected at the top and congealed, so it was easy to remove it, making it a fat free broth. I used 1 qt. of ham broth and 1 qt. of low sodium chicken broth. The flavor was still 'hammy', but the sodium was greatly reduced by using some chicken broth instead of all ham broth. If you like dumplings you will like this recipe. If you do NOT like dumplings  you won't like this. Dumplings have a particular texture that some people just do not like.

Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it!

2 qts. ham broth (remember, I used 1 ham and 1 chicken)
Heat the broth while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Make the dumplings by mixing 1/2 c. water and 2 eggs in a bowl. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix well. Put onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.

Peel 6 potatoes and hand slice. By hand slicing them, they will be a bit thick and uneven, which adds to the personality of this dish! It's a very down-home, country dish!

Once the broth is hot or at a slow rolling boil, place a layer of potatoes in the pot, followed by a layer of 'ears' and repeat until the potatoes and 'ears' are used up. Cook until the potatoes are done. It took about 20 minutes for mine to cook. I kept it at a slow boil while cooking. 
I did NOT add salt.  The ham broth tends to be salty, but it's much better if you use half chicken broth. The dumplings could have used a bit of salt, but we just put a touch on the whole dish as well as freshly cracked pepper.  A little side dish of home canned applesauce was a perfect accompaniment. If you want to add a vegetable to the dish, I think a bit of corn would be great. Just add it to the broth before adding the potatoes and dumplings.  The potatoes are still our own home grown ones from this year's garden produce!



  1. Hi Teresa your recipes always make my mouth water. This meal looks delicious especially because I love anything with breading in the recipe! So this is somewhat similar to dumplings right? also your photos look great!

  2. What do dumplings taste like? I've never had one.