Pennsylvania Kitchen: Schnitz un Knepp with Jason Lewis of Aramark

Schnitz un Knepp is in the same food family as PA Dutch chicken pot pie, ham pot pie and shoofly pie: comforting specialties, born out of the rural Pennsylvania landscape and the resourcefulness it requires. This dish (say: “snitz-en-nep”), is comprised of ham or pork shoulder that’s simmered in stock until meltingly tender and then topped with homemade dumplings, reconstituted dried apples and onions. The word knepp is German for “buttons,” as the little dough balls floating in the hammy soup indeed look a bit like buttons. Sweet, salty and deeply savory, this dish is a reminder of just how happy PA pork and local apples are together — just like the locavore adage says: what grows together goes together.

This traditional recipe comes to us from Chef Jason Lewis, a culinary development chef for Aramark, during his time cooking in the Pennsylvania Kitchen. Aramark, which has its world headquarters situated in Philadelphia, is an innovative global company that brings a fresh perspective to the food served in places like schools, ballparks and hospitals. As the Aramark team is always developing new recipes and thinking about ways to satisfy the evolving diets of the people it serves, we thought it was charming that Lewis chose to share something so old-school and homey. But, it makes total sense: At the end of the day, even chefs just want to eat something warm and hearty that reminds them of their grandma’s cooking (and indeed, this recipe comes from Lewis’ Nana).

Watch our video for the technique, and then check out the recipe to make schnitz un knepp at home!