Every January my mom's side of the family comes together for a tradition that we all hold near and dear to our hearts... Filled Noodle Day!
The Priatkos and the Kucics team up to handmake tiny little pockets of love that we know as "filled noodles." This Mueller family recipe is a variation of German stuffed pasta and it is absolutely delicious. Who would guess that some noodle dough, sausage, and stuffing could taste so amazing? It really doesn't get much more German than that. Then again, what's not to love about a hot, comforting carb?
Taking it way back, the dish comes from my grandmother's German roots. My great grandma taught my grandma, who taught my mom and uncles, who then passed the experience (and the recipe!) along to me, my sister, and my cousins. And it's not just our family, according to Google this is a common German dish that has taken on many different variations through the years. Seriously, if you search "German Filled Noodles". There's 5,790,000 results. This has been a tradition in our family for well over 50 years, but I think it's safe to assume the history goes back a lot farther than that.
You may still be wondering what exactly a "filled noodle" is... well, it looks and feels a lot like a dumpling. Homemade noodle dough is mixed, rolled out, cut into circles, stuffed with a mixture of ground sausage and homemade stuffing, pinched like a pierogi, boiled, and cooled. When it's time to dig in, the noodles are warmed and served in hot broth. The recipe from start to finish is a bit time-intensive, but when you have a team of 9 it's a piece of cake! This year we made 51 dozen noodles in 3 hours. That means we pumped out about 17 dozen an hour!
Oh, and the number one noodle day rule? No one eats the noodles... yet. They're eaten on a Sunday in February when the entire family can come back together for Noodle Day: Part II. This time without the chaos of a messy kitchen. It's the kind of meal that requires an after-dinner nap, but nonetheless it's one of my favorites.
When I sit back and think about it, there's really something special about this tradition. It's more than the food. It's about keeping my grandma's memory alive and appreciating the gift of family. Gram passed away when I was just a junior in high school. I have missed her everyday for the past 8 years, but I know she's smiling from ear to ear when that dough roller comes out every January. She spent a large portion of her life in the kitchen cooking for the family, teaching others how to cook, and even using her talents to run a catering business. From filled noodles and homemade pierogi recipes to holiday traditions and "The Sound of Music" sing-alongs, I'm thankful she was able to leave behind little pieces of herself to remind us of the love she had for this family.
I hope we're making you proud, Gram. ♡