Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t like dumplings? Is that even possible? I’m not trying to be obtuse, honest- I just can’t imagine that there’s a human on this earth who doesn’t grow weak at the knees at the thought of those bite-sized morsels of deliciousness. As you can probably deduce, I love dumplings. All kinds- Chinese, Thai, Polish, British. When I was growing up, I looked forward to my family’s Dim Sum Boxing Day tradition almost as much as I looked forward to Christmas (possibly more).
But this post isn’t about Dim Sum, or any kind of Chinese dumpling. Nope, it’s about a branch of this special family that I’d never met before- the Hungarian bread dumpling. I saw this recipe at The Kitchn last week and was immediately intrigued; a dumpling I had never tasted, nor heard of, jam-packed with winter root vegetables? Held together by a dough made from the bread that’s currently getting stale in my bread box? This was definitely an idea that needed closer inspection.
So I got myself a huge assortment of root veg at the farmer’s market and got to work. I’m not going to lie: this recipe was time-consuming, even downright fiddly. All that chopping and rolling and coating- it’s definitely not a weeknight meal. The good news is that you refrigerate the dough before forming the dumplings, and I see no reason why everything up to that point couldn’t be done a day or so beforehand.
The result was like nothing I’d tasted before. Hearty, yes- even heavy -but in a good way. This is perfect fodder for dark days and cold winter evenings; served drizzled with paprika butter and accompanied by a dollop of thick yogurt, it’s a case of familiar flavours in an exotic embodiment.
Note: I boiled these as the recipe dictated, but some of the leftover dough was just as good (possibly better) the next day, fried in olive oil as thick fritters.
- Root Vegetable Bread Dumplings
- adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn
- makes 20-25 dumplings (serving 4-5)
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 a yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium parsnip, finely chopped
1/2 a medium swede/rutabaga, finely chopped
1/4 a medium winter squash (any type), finely chopped
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
sea salt and black pepper
4 cups torn-up white bread pieces
1 cup breadcrumbs
2/3 cup of milk
approx. 1/2 cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting
salt and pepper
Greek yogurt or sour cream
finely chopped parsley
- 1. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about five minutes.
2. Add the rest of the vegetables to the pot, and stir in about 1/2 a cup of water. Cover and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, checking and stirring every so often. When the vegetables are cooked through, gently “mush” them with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. You don’t want a purée, just a rough mixture. Make sure as much moisture as possible has cooked off, then remove the vegetables from the heat and allow to cool.
3. Mix together the bread pieces, breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and mix until doughy. Stir in the parsley and season to taste, then stir in the egg.
4. When the vegetables have cooled enough, add them to the bread mixture and stir to incorporate. If the mixture seems too wet, you can also add up to 1/2 cup of flour. Cover and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes until cool. (Dumpling mixture can be made to this point up to 2 days beforehand.)
5. When you’re ready to make the dumplings, put a large pot of water on to boil. Cover a large plate or board with flour and drop golf ball-sized pieces of dough onto the surface. Roll these about to make 20-25 flour-dusted dumplings.
6. When the water boils, salt it lightly. Working in batches of 5-6, drop the dumplings into the boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes, until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue until all the dumplings are cooked.
7. To serve, you have a few options. I like to add salt, pepper and a good dash of paprika to some melted butter, then drizzle this over the dumplings. Alternatively, you could fry the dumplings lightly in some butter or olive oil, and sprinkle the paprika over while they crisp up. Serve with a side of yogurt and some more chopped parsley, if you like.