Thursday, 29 January 2009

Bread Dumplings with Mushroom Sauce

During the last few days, all of Sydney has been suffering under the sweltering heat - even at night, temperatures wouldn't go down. And without a breeze lifting the suffocating blanket of humid hot air, we had to resort to the fan to be able to sleep at times.

Knowing that, bread dumplings with mushroom sauce might not be the dinner of choice at the moment, I grant you that. Admittedly, I made these in the midst of the Australian winter, some time last June, when the cold rain wouldn't stop for days - then these hearty dumplings are exactly what you need.

I was instantly reminded of them when talking to my family about the pretty rough winter they have at the moment in Europe. Usually my family lives in an area of Germany with a moderate climate so cold it might get but not bone-chillingly so. However, this year the temperatures dropped way beyond zero for quite a while. Listening to descriptions of a walk through snowy landscape while wiping away the sweat on your own brow feels quite funny!

So this one is for all the people that are currently shivering in the Northern hemisphere - enjoy and keep warm!

Bread Dumplings with Mushroom Sauce

The ingredients

In Sydney, I usually never have leftover bread rolls (get eaten too quickly) but leftover bread works just as well. Just make sure to cut it finely - you may have to remove very hard rinds - and let it soak long enough.

10 medium-sized bread rolls (about 500g), cut into fine slices
3/8 to 1/2 l milk, warmed
2 tbsp onion, diced
plenty of chopped parsley
1 tbsp butter
4-5 eggs
1 tbsp flour

Put the finely cut bread rolls into a big bowl, sprinkle with salt and pour the warm milk on top. The exact amount of milk needed depends on how dry the rolls are. The drier the rolls, the more milk is needed and the longer it will take them to absorb it all. The soaking will take at least 30 minutes. Stir the mixture every now and then.

Gently fry the onions and parsley in the butter until softened. Note: If in a hurry, you can skip this step - the dumplings will still taste delicious.

Add the onions and parsley to the bread rolls, followed by the eggs and the flour. If your eggs are very big, use only four. Using a bare hand, mix together until evenly combined. If you can still feel lots of hardened bread roll pieces, let your mixture soak a little longer.

The resulting mixture will be quite soft but should not be too soggy. If it is too liquid, the dumplings won't hold their shape. If necessary add a tablespoon of bread crumbs but don't add too much at a time.

With wet hands, shape the dough into round dumplings. They should be about the same size to ensure even cooking. Whenever the dough begins to stick to your hands, wet your hands again in cold water.

While shaping bring a pot with three liters of salted water to the boil. If you're unsure about the consistency of your dumplings, put only one in the pot, reduce the temperature, and let it simmer for roughly 20 minutes. Check after a few minutes that the dumpling doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. It will be ready when it floats on top.

If you're happy with the consistency of your trial dumpling, simmer the remaining ones. They need to have enough space to float freely so work in batches if necessary.

Lift out the dumplings using a slotted spoon and serve immediately with creamy mushroom sauce or a hearty meat stew.

Mushroom Sauce

Mushrooms of your choice
Dairy of your choice

There's no recipe - it's your choice if you first sautee onions and mushrooms and then deglaze the pan with cream, sour cream, milk whatever or if you make a roux out of butter and a little flour and then go from there.
Just one bit of advice: I've long tried to make a somewhat diet-friendly mushroom sauce - forget it, it always tasted awful. I think that's one of these cases when you need to use real cream!

The source
Hedwig Maria Stuber: Ich helf Dir kochen

The hint
Making dumplings might sound a little irksome but it isn't difficult at all. I don't even bother making a trial dumpling.

If you have leftover dumplings, you can slice them up, turn in beaten egg and fry until browned. Together with a green salad, it makes for a quick and tasty lunch.