After the excesses of the last weeks, it is time to take a step back and cook up something simple. Sometimes the simple things are the best, like these dumplings, made from leftover bread. Together with a few fresh mushrooms and cream you have an impressive vegetarian feast.
I used a mix of fresh button mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms, but chanterelle and porcini would be lovely, too! If you are using dried mushrooms, soak them as directed; I would mix them with fresh mushrooms for a better texture.
I made these Weckknödel (bread dumplings) recently as a side dish for my roast goose – together with red cabbage they are the traditional dinner for St Martin’s in my part of Germany. An ideal way to use up bread from the day before, they are delicious enough as a dish in their own right. If you’re a vegetarian with fond memories of turkey stuffing, this recipe is for you.
Bread Dumplings with Mushrooms (serves 4)
- 250g stale white bread (baguette or rolls; sliced bread is too soft)
- 1/2 pint warm milk
- 2/3 eggs
- fresh nutmeg
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- some vegetable oil
- 1/2 bunch of parsley (traditionally the curly variety), finely cut
- salt, pepper, to taste
- 500g fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 lemon, drizzled over the freshly cut mushrooms
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, finely cut
- 2 tbs butter
- 200ml single cream
- salt, pepper
Remove the crust from the bread with a grater and set aside – you might need the additional crumbs if your dumplings are too soft. Cut the bread into thin slices and soak it in the warm milk.
For the dumpling mix, soften the onions in a large frying pan, using vegetable oil. Add the parsley and give it a stir or two. Add it to the bread mix.
Using the same frying pan (unless you really love washing up!) to soften the second onion, using the butter. Add the mushrooms – you might want to fry them in portions to ensure they are all nicely browned. Add half of the remaining parsley, give it a good stir or two, then add the cream. Season with salt, pepper and any remaining lemon juice and simmer at a low heat.
To finish off your dumplings, add the nutmeg, the eggs and knead it using your hands. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Try and form a dumpling, pressing it quite hard. Drop this test-dumpling into the boiling water to check if it retains its shape: if it disintegrates, add some of the breadcrumbs that were left from the crust into the mix to make a firmer dough.
Form around 14 – 16 dumplings out of the mix and simmer them for 15-20 minutes. They will eventually rise to the top – a clear sign that they are ready!
Serve with the remaining parsley.
To celebrate my first truly vegetarian dish on this blog, I will bring this along to Angie’s Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener: every Friday a bunch of us get together to an impressive celebration of the classic pot-luck party. This week she is assisted by Margy @La Petite Casserole and Juju @cookingwithauntjuju, two very experienced party-goers, so we are in good hands. Check it out for yourselves: pot-luck has never been more glamorous and impressive than this!