Monday, March 5, 2012

Parsnip Dumplings with Scallion & Bacon Filling

Pin It

Spring is on like donkey kong!

Not forgotten are the icy claws of winter still clenching this part of the world, numbing both nature and minds with its dull, dreary megrim. There are people who gain strength from this quiet melancholia. People who find inner peace and unbend. To me, winter is the time I am trying with all my might not to get in a funk. I am generally rather susceptible for winter blues and January and February are the worst.

Parsnip Dumplings

However, the last few days made it clear that Persephone is slowly taking her first steps out of the underworld again. Temperatures are rising and sunbeams are hitting earth with a warmth last felt months ago. Spring is a-coming. One can feel, smell and see it. The emphasis was clearly on see when I walked through the garden this week and was greeted by these little fellas:

Spring is a-coming.

Not winter anymore, but not quite spring just yet. A time between seasons.

This is what I was trying to express through this week's recipe. I've tried combining ingredients that represent winter and spring. I have found them in parsnips representing winter, and scallions representing spring. The result are these dumplings that have an earthy and warming note at first that becomes lighter and fresher once you hit the centre. Dumplings of that kind can commonly be found especially in Northern and Central Europe, where they are normally served as a side to roasts for soaking up the sauce or gravy or in a smaller variation in soups. I kept it simple and served them to steaks, but due to the concoction, it would also work well with venison because of the parsnip and fish or chicken thanks to the scallions.

Making these kind of dumplings can be a bit tricky at first as the dough is rather on the sticky side, but I'll do my best with my comments. ;)

Parsnip Dumplings

Parsnip Dumplings with Scallion and Bacon Filling
Makes 10 dumplings

  • 100g (3.5 oz.) scallions, cut into thin rings
  • 1 ts butter
  • 2 ts of parsley, finely chopped. 
  • 50g (1.8 oz.) lean bacon, cut into small cubes about 5mm (0.2'') in length and height (If you only have slices, that's alright as well.)
  • 500g (17.5 oz.) parsnips, cooked and cooled down
  • 500g (17.5 oz.) potatoes, cooked and cooled down
  • 250g (8.8 oz.) potato flour (can be substituted with corn starch)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • More parsley for garnish

  1. In a small pot, melt butter on high heat.
  2. Add scallions and toss them quickly so that they are just heated through.
  3. Lower heat and add bacon, pepper and parsley, keeping it cooking for about another 30 seconds (the bacon does not need to be completely cooked). Set aside.
  4. In a large pot. Heat up water to the point close to simmering. Add salt and remain on low heat (the water should not even simmer or the dumplings become soggy later).
  5. Combine potatoes, parsnips and the egg.
  6. Purée with a masher, an immersion blender or a food processor as finely as possible. Transfer mass into a large bowl if it is not there already.
  7. Stir in salt and potato flour with a wooden spoon (about a level tablespoon of salt worked for me.)
  8. With wet hands, grab a hand full of dough, forming it into a disc with a dent in the centre for the filling.
  9. Add a teaspoon of filling. Fold sides of the disc together, enclosing the filling. Form into a ball. (This part is way more difficult to describe than to perform. It simply is the process of getting the filling into the dumpling. Keeping your hands wet here is key or the dough will stick recklessly to your palms. If the dough is still too sticky, add a bit more potato flour to the mass.)
  10. Lay into hot water.
  11. Repeat steps 8-10 for all dumplings. The dumplings are done when they float to the surface by themselves which can take up to 20 minutes. You may want to stir them once in the water to make sure they don't stick to the ground. The water should not even simmer so keep on lowest heat.
  12. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.



  1. I actually quite like winter, despite being very sensitive to the cold, because I love the warm feeling you get when you snuggle under the covers, or near the oven: D I like spring too (but not when it gets too hot!) though there never seems to be many flowers growing in spring here (not including the ones people plant of course!)- and definitely not ones as pretty as the ones you found!

    I’ve always wanted to make dumplings with a soup or stew or something- it sounds like delicious way of having dumplings  I’ve only ever had Asian dumplings, and they’re usually eaten by themselves…..and are quite different to these ones! I think the ones I’ve seen before (and the ones I wanted to make) had no filling though (filling-less dumplings do exist right?)- your ones definitely look much tastier!

    1. I don't think winter gets as cold and lasts as long in Australia than it does here. ;) It is like flora and fauna are going on a hiatus and while it may be enjoyable for a certain amount of time, it just lasts too long.

      All these 'European' dumplings share with Asian once are the name and the shape maybe. These have a tougher, maybe doughier consistency and are generally simply eaten as a side like potatoes or rice et cetera. Filling-less dumplings not only exist but are the norm. ;) I just wanted to make something a bit more special and writing a post about plain old dumplings may not have been too exciting haha.

      ...thinking about it. I could go all European and write a post about the variations of dumplings. Could be fun. And a bit weird mabe. lol

  2. What gorgeous photography! I think that food and photography go together really good things should :) You do a great job of highlighting both.

    And your comment about "Persephone is slowly taking her first steps out of the underworld again" is one of the most poetic descriptions of spring that I've ever heard!


    1. Cheers Abby! We think alike when it comes to food and photography and I'm trying to improve on both so your comment means a lot to me!

      About that line: When I cross-read this post I considered leaving that one out because I was afraid it sounded too corny for my own good and taste. Glad you proved me wrong!

  3. Oh my gosh, this looks so lovely and delicious! The pairing of parsnip and potato and bacon sounds so good too!!

  4. These sound delicious and perfect for Sydneys weather today. Its a little brisk

    1. Cheers Nic. Sounds just about right. ;)
      They certainly would not taste as well in summery heat than they do on brisk and gloomy days.

  5. The colors of this dish represent spring and this is so beautiful. I've never pair up with parsnip and potatoes but it sounds amazing! I've only tried Chinese style "dumplings" and learned about other types of "dumplings" since I started blogging. I really, really love every single photography on this post, Tobias!

    1. Thank you so much, Nami! It was a first for me as well adding parsip to dumplings and it worked so well it opened up a new spectrum of possible variations. ;)

  6. This is such a colourful dish and I'm sure it's absolutely delicious and good for you. I haven't made these before but I'd like to give them a try.

    1. Thank you!
      It's a bit high in carbs due to the potatoes so I would not call it health food per se but thanks to the parsnip they are still almost cut down to a half compared to regular dumplings so that's a plus. ;)

  7. I wonder if these dumplings are similar to Slovakia's? I had the pleasure to eat them everyday in Bratislava and fell completely in love with them. Up until now, I think about them. Love the photos!

  8. As potato dumplings (minus the filling and parsnip) are known all over Central Europe, it is quite possible. The three most popular versions are either made from potatoes, old bread or yeast and wheat flour (Bohemian Dumplings). The latter are usually cut into slices and have a spongy texture.
    I am strongly considering writing a post about dumplings in near future as it seems like there is more to them than I thought. :)

  9. These are just wonderful! I do not eat bacon but my family loves it :) I will happily down several veggie versions though ;) Beautiful photos as well!

  10. I hate winter too. And here in Sydney we've had no summer to speak of. Coldest and wettest on record and more grey skies today. And now we're in Autumn and everyone's depressed because the days are getting shorter and we know Winter is on it's way and we all feel ripped off that we have to have another winter without having had our summer. Great recipe though. I hope it cheered you up.

  11. This looks so delicious and beautiful! The filling looks lovely. I am going to try these soon.

  12. Ah, flowers, how I miss them. Now that it's like fifteen degrees outside and we can't pretend its winter anymore, all I want is for the warm weather to hurry up along. These little dumplings look delicious!

  13. What a recipe. I love all the flavors in these dumplings! Yum!

  14. the recipe sounds yum! I never heard of potato flour before. Tempted to give it a try.

  15. What a creative recipe! These look just wonderful and you are so right that they really bridge winter and spring. Just lovely.

  16. Hey Tobias! Thanks for checking out my blog---your blog looks AWESOME. And delicious. G and I are drooling reading your blog. We might have to try these parsnip dumplings sometime...nom nom!

  17. I came over from nami's. I know the guest post was on the sesame cupcakes which sound delicious, but when she mentioned these parsnip dumplings I felt compelled to check that out too (: bloody brilliant!

  18. Just visiting your blog from Nami's too - you have a way with words, and your photos are so beautiful. Great looking blog, I'm subscribing!


I am eager to know what you have to say! Feed me comments.