Q: Do you like dumplings?
A: I don't know, I've never dumpled.
And I hadn't, really. I've made ravioli before, but I had never made dumplings until this week's IMBB event "You're the Cutest Little Dumpling" hosted by redbeard. I looked at a bunch of dumpling recipes and came up with a definition of a "true" dumpling which is the Northern and Eastern European idea of a bready lump cooked by simmering in a liquid. Sure, there are filled pastas and wontons and all that other good stuff but this was the definiton of the one true dumpling I was working towards. The one that would unite all England! (Uh, sorry. Went to a Ren Fair this weekend and I got a bit carried away).
The first step was to assemble the makings of the dumplings, prepare them, and simmer in a liquid that would, itself be good to eat. So here's my recipe for
Hearty Lentil Stew with Onion Dumplings
2 medium onions, chopped (or 1/2 a huge onion and another one like I did)
3 celery stalks, chopped to 1/2" dice
3 carrots, chopped to 1/2" dice
4 quarts vegetable stock
3/4 cup red lentils, washed and picked over
4 tablespoons flour
2 tsp cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
In a saucepan, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil and add the onions. Stir to coat and sautee over medium heat covered for 15 minutes until onions are tender, but not carmelized. Set aside to cool a bit.
In a large pot, heat the second tablespoon of oil, add carrots and celery. Salt and pepper lightly. Stir to coat and sautee over medium heat covered for 10 minutes until celery and carrots are al dente, giving a bit of resistance when bitten, but not a lot.
Add 1/2 cup of onions to soup pot, add four cups of stock, one teaspoon of cumin, and both bay leaves and stir to combine. Add red lentils, stir. Raise heat until pot boils, reduce to simmer and cover for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, combine four tablespoons of flour, one teaspoon of cumin, and rest of onions. Salt and pepper lightly to taste. Put bowl in refrigerator for ten minutes or until simmer time for soup is over.
After stew has simmered twenty minutes, form 1" balls with onion mix and lower into the soup gently. They may not seem like they will want to hold together, but if you've mixed well, they will. Carefully spoon them into the liquid. Cover and simmer for ten minutes more.
Dumplings are done when they hold together pretty well. Spoon out soup/stew and dumplings into each bowl and eat.
Be careful, this stuff is serious and holds heat REALLY well. Make sure you let the stew cool a bit or have a cold glass of something handy to keep you from burning your throat. I think I will hold off on making this again until Fall or Winter comes. It's a great cold weather dish, but it was a little too hearty for late summer.
See all the Dumplings in a row at Life in Flow.