Dumplings were a peasant food, originally served to extend small amounts of meat. They have come a long way since then and are now given more gastronomic thought than once were. At there simplest they consist of flour and fat rubbed together with a touch of water. More complex versions include, among other things, finely chopped liver which is an Austrian adaption. However those are more like a meatball than a dumpling. I decided to go very basic and went for a traditional dumpling with nothing added but a bit of chopped parsley.
My dumplings aren’t that traditional at all, considering the classic dumpling probably used suet and not butter. However, as you may already know, I am a big fan of butter and go/live by the “saying”, If butter can be used, use it.
The butter needs to be very cold, so I just chuck it in the freezer before grating. Also it is probably better to grate it directly into the flour using a box grater to avoid it forming into a big lump of grated butter, like mine.
Dumplings are a great addition to bulk out any stew or casserole and make a meal out of it, which leads back to there roots as a peasant food.
Many people would agree that the secret of making a good dumpling is the same as making good pastry, be light and don’t over mix.
There is obviously more creative ingredients than parsley that could be added to dumplings so feel free to go whacky.
Use ice cold water for the dumplings and also use a spoon to add the water so that you don’t add too much. Don’t be cocky like me and try to pour it from a bowl.
The resulting dough, ready to make light and fluffy dumplings.
Roll the dough into smallish balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. I got 15 even sized balls from my dough but you can get more or less depending on how big your balls are!
The dumplings then just get sat on top of your favourite stew or soup and left to soak up some of the delicious sauce and puff up.
This dumpling recipe is based on one of Jamie Oliver’s recipe, which can be seen here
200 g self-raising flour
100 g salted butter, really cold
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 190°C
Put your flour into a mixing bowl .
Using a coarse grater, grate your cold butter into the flour.
Using your fingers, gently rub the butter into the flour until it begins to resemble breadcrumbs
- Add your chopped parsley and mix.
Add a splash of cold water to help bind it into a dough
Divide the dough into about 15 pieces and gently roll each into a round dumpling.
The dumplings will suck up quite a bit of moisture so if your stew or soup looks dry – add a cup of boiling water and give it a good stir.
Place the dumplings on top of your fully cooked stew and press down lightly so that they’re half submerged
Cook in the oven or on the hob over a medium heat with the lid on for 30 minutes.