I like to simply experiment in my kitchen using the “cook without recipe” option. Here’s my four rules of thumb for delicious spinach dumplings. (Those who prefer more accurate and precise ingredient specifications, read on.)
1 roll = 1 dumpling
You need one stale roll per dumpling.
Some ingredients must be proportionate in terms of weight.
These are: 1 unit bread crumbs · 1 unit strained spinach · 1/3 unit butter or clarified butter · 1/5 unit grated cheese (Parmesan or piquant mountain cheese).
You need something to bind the ingredients together.
Ingredients for 2 dumplings (which is a one person serving): 1 onion · ½ clove of garlic · ½ egg · a dash of warm milk · a pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated.
There’s a perfect pairing.
Serve topped with Parmesan, parsley and melted butter and a salad on the side. Spinach dumplings and salad are indeed a perfect pairing.
Needing not more than these simple ingredients, spinach dumplings taste positively decadent. Unbelievably delicious.
- In a skillet, melt the butter and sauté the finely chopped onion until tender on low heat. (I love to caramelize the onions. Onions are naturally sweet; and as caramel comes from the simple cooking of sugar, when you slowly sauté onions over an extended period of time, the natural sugars in the onions caramelize, making the result intensely and wonderfully flavourful.)
- Cut the dried white bread (stale rolls) first into slices, then into stripes and then into cubes or use cubed dry white bread “for dumplings” and assemble them in a big bowl.
- Cover the bread cubes with warm milk and season with salt.
- When the bread is soft, stir in beaten eggs and mix well.
- Add grated cheese to the soaked bread and mash until well combined. Set the mixture aside for about 10 minutes.
- After the ten minutes have passed, add the spinach and mix everything well again.
- Add the garlic to the onions and sauté until they are barely brown. Eventually, add the butter-garlic-onion-mixture to the dough and stir together.
- Mix until the ingredients are spread evenly among each other and set aside for about half an hour.
- Check whether the dough consistency is right after kneading: If the bread has softened by now, squeeze out the excess milk, if there is any. Try to form the mixture into balls. If they hold together well, you’re good to go. If you are unsure, add more
- milk (-> if the bread cubes aren’t completely soaked and soft by now),
- eggs (-> if the dough is too dry and doesn’t hold together well) or
- bread cubes (-> if the dough is too soft and thin and doesn’t hold together well).
- Shape the mixture into dumplings by rolling the dough into a ball between your palms. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and let dumplings simmer for about 25 minutes. (Strongly recommended: Prepare the dumplings in a steam cooker. They are so yummy!)
- In a large pan, heat the butter until lightly brown, grate the Parmesan cheese and chop the parsley.
- Arrange the dumplings on a plate, drizzle with butter, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and parsley and enjoy!
And now go have fun :-)
Feel free to improvise when it comes to the bread and cheeses: Traditionally, dumplings are a delicious and satisfying way of using up left-overs. So if you have yesterday’s stale bread (everything, from baguette to wholemeal bread) or cheeses – use them!
Ingredients (Yield: 4 Servings):
250g bread cubes · 250g strained spinach · 80g butter/clarified butter · 120g finely chopped onion · 15g garlic · 125ml milk · 2 eggs, beaten · 50g grated cheese (piquant)