We couldn’t quite decide on dinner tonight and tossed a bunch of ideas around that ended up not striking any of us as something we wanted to eat. With mounting frustration and a seeming lack of appetite, voices for take-out grew louder. However, while I generally don’t mind getting take-out, I always think that I’ll probably end up with some lackluster dish or, if it is really delicious, that the food I’m getting is likely not as healthy and/or fresh as a meal I can make at home.
As the decision was basically made to get take-out, it occurred to my wife that we had some left-over potato dumplings in the fridge that needed to be used. It’s easy enough to fry them and have a great basis for a meal. But what to cook to make this into a meal? A look in the fridge showed a green bell pepper and some carrots. With that in mind, I thought we could make something good and declared boldly that I did not want take-out.
A while later, dinner was ready and take-out was long forgotten.
While I already had some dumplings, you probably don’t and thus, I’ve included my standard recipe below. The dumpling recipe will then be followed by the veggie concoction I came up with.
1 lb. russet potatoes
1 Tbs. corn starch
½ to ¾ all-purpose flour
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 Tbs. butter for frying
1 Tbs butter
1 garlic glove, minced
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips and halved
3 large carrots, also cut into thin strips and then cut into thirds
½ cup vegetable stock
2 Tbs. cream cheese
1 wedge cheese spread (If you’re in the US: Laughing Cow is what you want)
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. half-sharp paprika
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
Let's get started:
To make the best of our time, it is necessary to boil the potatoes before we get to the actual preparation of the Dumplings. Thus, let's do that first:
In a medium pot, heat plenty of water over high heat.
Add a Tbs. of salt.
Add the whole, unpeeled potatoes.
Reduce heat to a slow boil and let the potatoes cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on size. You can check for tenderness with a fork or knife – either one should easily glide through the potatoes when they are done.
Remove the potatoes from the water and let cool down.
By now, the potatoes should be cool enough to handle.
With a knife, peel off the skins – doing so should be as simple as scraping the blade along the skin.
Put the peeled potatoes through a potato ricer that you've put on top of a work bowl.
Crack the eggs and separate the yolk from the egg white.
Add the yolks, discard the egg white.
Add corn starch.
Add ½ cup of flour.
Season with salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg.
With your hands, work the ingredients into a soft and pliable dough. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a bit more flour until the dough no longer sticks.
Once you have a nice and tight dough ball, dust a work surface with a bit of flour and, with your hands, roll the dough into a large sausage shape.
Cut the large sausage shape in two, set one piece aside, and continue with the remaining piece.
With your hands, continue to roll the half sausage into a thinner sausage – roughly 1 inch thick.
With a knife, cut off a 1/2-inch piece.
Again, roll this little piece into a sausage shape - roughly the length and thickness of your fingers.
Make sure you coat each resulting dumpling with a dusting of flour so that it doesn't stick to your work surface.
Heat a large pot of water until it boils.
Add 1 Tbs. Salt.
Add the little dumplings and immediately turn the heat off – if the water continues to boil strongly,
the dumplings could disintegrate.
Once the dumplings rise to the top, they are done – this will take about 3 minutes.
Remove the dumplings and put them in a colander.
Rinse them with cold water and let drain.
In a large pan, heat the 4 Tbs. of butter over medium-high heat.
When the butter has melted, add the well-drained dumplings to the pan and slowly fry until golden -brown on all sides.
While the dumplings are frying, you can make the veggies:
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
Once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic.
Stir until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the bell peppers and carrots.
Stir for about three minutes.
Add the veggie stock, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for ten minutes.
Add the cream cheese and the cheese wedge.
Stir until both are melted and incorporated into the veggie stock.
Add the ground ginger, paprika, a pinch of salt and some freshly-ground pepper.
By now, the dumplings should look really appetizing.
Sprinkle a bit of salt, pepper, and chopped parsley on top and serve on a plate alongside the veggies!