Saturday, 23 March 2013

Recipe XCIV - Carlsbad Dumplings

Who finds it strange that I'm publishing two non-meat recipes in a row? I certainly do. But this week's recipe is as good as having meat or potatoes, and is incredibly tasty, easy to make and is perfect with a nice creamy sauce, whether made of wine, mushrooms, or like I did, fennel and honey with a nice piece of duck breast. The Czechs call this recipe Karlovarský knedlík.

10 slightly stale white bread rolls (the Czechs use a roll called a rohlík, but half a crusty white loaf will do nicely)
4 eggs
250ml-300ml milk
3 slices of butter
A sprig of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

A large round bowl with a handle
A potato masher
Some clingfilm
A chopping board

Put the chopped up bread, including crusts, into a bowl. Put a generous helping of salt on it. Then add the eggs, milk, parsley, butter and pepper.

Get your potato masher and give it a thorough stamping until the mixture is consistent; it should not fall out of the bowl when turned upside-down.

Cut off some clingfilm and spread it over a chopping block. Then scoop the dumpling mix onto it, making sure it's long enough for everything to fit in.

Wrap the clingfilm round the dumpling mix, removing all the air and twist the ends until it forms a thick, sausage-like shape. You might feel more comfortable wrapping two lots of clingfilm round it, so any gaps will be in different places. That's what I did. Steam it for a good half an hour.

Remove the clingfilm and put it on a flat surface. Slice it up into 1.5cm-thick slices and arrange it nicely on the plate.

I made duck breast with fennel and honey sauce to accompany the dumplings, but rabbit, beef, pork or venison would go nicely too.

If you want to play around with the ingredients, I'd recommend sage and onion, or dried apricots and hazelnuts instead. Seasonal ingredients are always fresher and tastier, but go with your instinct as there are so many combinations. However, the Carlsbad version is pretty special.

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