Friday, May 28, 2010

I heart dumplings

I mean seriously, who doesn't love dumplings? warm, round(ish), tasty, melty, what's not to love? and your grandma probably calls you her little dumpling.

Once I figured out the trick to making these babies, I can't wait to make more. and the recipe is a peice of cake to double. (said trick is to hand form the dumplings instead of "form them using two spoons". sounds harder, but it's really easier!)

Spinach dumplings
(makes about 20)

1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed
one small onion, chopped fine
1/2 tbsp butter
1/3 ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 cup flour, or maybe a little more

drain the thawed spinach in a colander. fry the onions in the butter over medium heat, till browned. while the onions are frying, run the spinach under running water to get rid of any ice chunks. squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as you can with your hands. when the onions are cooked, turn the heat off, and stir in the spinach along w/a little salt, breaking up the chunks. the ambient heat from the burner will help soften and warm the spinach. Let cool.

in a large bowl, cream the ricotta, parm, and egg. season w/salt, pepper & nutmeg. When the spinach & onions are cool, add them to the cheese mixture and mix well. One heaped tablespoon at a time, add the flour, mixing well before each new addition. When a soft dough forms, you've added enough flour.

how do you know when a soft dough has formed? When the mixture wants to stick to itself more than it wants to stick to the bowl, mix in one more tablespoon of flour. Now you've got a soft dough. taste, and season w/more salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Yes, I know there is raw egg in there. A teeny bit won't kill you.

Preheat the oven to 350, and have a baking dish ready. bring a big pot of water to boil. with very wet hands (have a bowl of cool water sitting next to the stove, you're going to want to dip your hands into it every few dumplings), roll balls of dough between your palms to make the dumplings. This is not unlike making matzah balls, except these will only expand a teeny bit. drop the dumplings into the boiling water. once they are all made, turn the boil down to a simmer, and once the dumplings have floated for a minute or two, remove them to the baking dish. bake at 350 for about 8 minutes, this will make the outsides a little crunchy. optional - dot w/butter & parmesan cheese before baking.

Like many recipes that look complicated, but aren't, I think the trick to success with this recipe is the read the entire recipe before starting, and not to panic when you're dropping dumplings into boiling water. Because of the high flour content, it is far better for these to be a little overcooked than a little undercooked.

the last batch was so good, I'm thinking of making more this weekend, and taking them to the party we're going to on Sunday!

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