I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the latest issue of edible AUSTIN magazine (No. 11 Winter 2009). What a wonderful way for the baby-bound and nearly housebound to start out “Eat Local Week” ( December 5-12, right here in your own town.) Of the wealth of inspiring and well-written articles (including Jardine Libaire’s thoughtful piece on my favorite charcuterie source in “Marketplace” Dai Due Butcher Shop), I found my kitchen self particularly compelled by Boggy Creek Farm matriarch Carole Ann Sayles’ “Seasonal Muse” column, Deconstructing Broccoli. Versatile, delicious, easy to prepare and of course, a vetted superfood, broccoli effortlessly negotiates the meal from soup to dessert (see my Broccoli Surprise Carrot Cake recipe).
My cornucopic dill bouquet from Finca Pura Vida (now at the budding HOPE market on Sundays) dared me to dumpling with the spoils of Thanksgiving, plus leftover broccoli stems. The stew component is flexible. Use whatever suitable vegetables you have. And if your palate bears the unfortunate scars of a dried dill upbringing, remember you can always substitute plenty of parsley, or even celery leaves or fennel fronds.
Quickly mixed with Richardson Farms locally-grown, freshly-ground whole wheat flour and organic heavy cream, these delicate dumplings are the lightest, most tender I’ve ever tried.
TURKEY AND DILLY DUMPLINGS makes about 8 servings
- a couple Tablespoons good fat. Roasted poultry fat, bacon grease or butter are good choices.
- local or organic onions, chopped kinda fine
- local or organic carrots, diced (approximately) smallish
- 2 bay leaves. You can buy bay leaf plants at our local farmers markets and nurseries. Bays are quite hardy and easy to take care of.
- local broccoli stems, well peeled and diced or other local and/or organic veggies, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
- organic garlic, a clove or so, minced
- fresh herbs—I like lots of fresh thyme and a little fresh rosemary. Grow ’em!
- 1/3 cup organic flour—I sometimes use whole grain flours for thickening, but all-purpose flour lends a cleaner look. Whole Foods 365 brand is usually the best buy.
- ¾ cup dry sherry. I recommend a brand that you can drink, as opposed to “cooking sherry.” It doesn’t have to be top of the line. I buy Osborne because I can get it at work.
- 5 cups good broth, preferably homemade (see Stock Tips). Our middens made for two large batches.
- 1/3 cup organic or local (such as Promised Land) heavy cream. I usually use Organic Valley. Click for a coupon.
- 2 teaspoon or so kosher salt. I use Diamond Crystal.
- 3 cups cooked shredded turkey or chicken dark meat. I freeze leftover cooked turkey meat in broth.
- 242 grams (about 2 scant cups) whole wheat flour—either Richardson Farms or organic
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder, sieved. I like Rumford non-GMO and aluminum-free.
- generous ½ teaspoon salt. I recommend Real Salt.
- freshly ground black pepper
- local and/or organic lemon zest
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill. Don’t forget to stash the stems for the stockpot.
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste. Local Meyers are easy to find—and grow!
In a Dutch oven or other suitable stewing pot, saute your aromatics and veggies in the fat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and cook and stir for a minute. Pour in the sherry and stir, scraping the pan bottom to release any fond. Pour in the broth and cream and add the salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the veggies are cooked. If you’re using broccoli or another potentially odiferous cruciferous, add it later to avoid overcooking. Carrots will take about 20 minutes, so add broccoli after about 15 minutes. Taste for salt and add the meat.
Whisk the flour together with the next five ingredients, then stir in the cream with a fork. The dough will be firm. Using a spring-loaded scoop (my preference) or a couple of spoons, scoop out small golf ball sized dough blobs and drop them into the simmering stew as you go. You should wind up with around 18 dumplings. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the dumpling have about doubled in size and are cooked through. Squeeze some lemon juice around the perimeter and sneak your wooden spoon in from the sides to incorporate it into the stew.