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.
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:
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 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
- In a small pot, melt butter on high heat.
- Add scallions and toss them quickly so that they are just heated through.
- 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.
- 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).
- Combine potatoes, parsnips and the egg.
- 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.
- Stir in salt and potato flour with a wooden spoon (about a level tablespoon of salt worked for me.)
- With wet hands, grab a hand full of dough, forming it into a disc with a dent in the centre for the filling.
- 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.)
- Lay into hot water.
- 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.
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.