When the CSA Attacks Your Dumplings…

But first, an object lesson.  I made cupcakes for Sylvie’s birthday.  To be precise, I made matcha coconut (with a bit of jasmine) cupcakes with coconut matcha buttercream frosting.  I started with the Joy of Cooking yellow cake recipe and tinkered from there.  That recipe claimed that you don’t actually need to use cupcake wrappers in the cupcake pan so long as you grease and flour thoroughly.  The wrappers we had on hand didn’t fit very well into the pan, so I figured that might be easier.  Here’s how that first batch turned out.IMG_6691

Here’s how the second batch turned out, after I decided that maybe Joy of Cooking didn’t know what it was talking about and went ahead and used the wrappers.IMG_6693

Same amount of batter per cupcake in each batch, but these turned out taller and, dare I say it, prettier.  Use your wrappers, people.

Now, on to the main event.  I’ve been making chicken and dumplings for years.  It started at this recipe, but I’ve mixed up how I do it pretty thoroughly at this point.  The recipe for the dumplings themselves is unaltered in my typical use, but I shamelessly change everything else.  This time, went so far as to leave out the chicken and do sausage instead.  (Grilling season ended while we still had a ton of brats on hand.)

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That’s a bag of chopped kale.  There was a squash thing that called for one bunch of kale but which I decided meant 2/3 of a bunch of kale.  And celery root instead of celery.  But that’s a regular carrot, and I also chopped an onion to throw in.

The recipe calls for making a broth by boiling the veggies with the chicken.  Boiling brats struck me as…unappetizing.  So I decided to caramelize things before throwing them into the broth to cook down and get tasty.

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Oh, and I also added a clove of garlic, because garlic.  It’s in there.
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I didn’t wind up cooking the carrots enough to get them particularly soft or caramelized, but they got a good sear on the outside.IMG_6704

And that’s a plate full of chopped up sausage that’s been skillet fried.  The fact that the sausage started life as a brat is very Wisconsin, but other than that, sausage is legitimately Southern when thrown in with gravy and biscuit-like objects, so my sacrilege score on this particular meal is quite a lot lower than has been usual.IMG_6706

That’s what the dumpling dough looks like before you add the liquid ingredients.  If you’re thinking “Wow, that looks just like biscuit dough at that stage,” then, yeah.  It pretty much is.IMG_6708

And that’s the final stage of the dough.  The recipe calls for rolling it out and then being orderly about cutting out dumplings or pinching off chunks.  I’ve never had the patience for that – rolling out biscuit dough makes a mess because it’s sticky.  I pinch the dough right out of the bowl, roll it in my hands a bit, then toss it into the boiling, milky broth.IMG_6710

Speaking of the broth, I should mention the other thing I ignore the recipe on.  It calls for removing the carrot, onion etc., from the broth and discarding them.  I started making this recipe in college when grocery money was a seriously challenging budgetary item.  I was not throwing away vegetables.  And I like my broth more gravy-like in consistency than this recipe will give you if you follow it strictly.  So instead I take the immersion blender and puree the vegetables.  Before I encountered the supreme joys of the immersion blender, I’d scoop them out, regular blend them, then throw them back in.  I’ve also used cream instead of milk, cream of mushroom soup instead of milk, sour cream, and several other things.  Someday I might do a cup of cheese soup, just to see what happens.IMG_6714

Speaking of liking the texture to be gravy-like, are you aware of this product?  It’s like corn starch, except easy.  It flour.  But magic flour.  Magic, makes everything thick super-fast and without lumps flour.  The name would be unforgivable if it weren’t so darn accurate.IMG_6716

Here’s where I made my major departure from status quo.  You don’t want to eat kale raw; it’s too tough.  But that toughness means it stays green and sassy when you do something like toss it into a pot full of sausage, boiled dumplings, and gravy.  It’s like a pop of lovely nature in your bowl of delightful cardiac arrest.IMG_6718

Mmmm, bowl of cardiac arrest.  This was good.  And a nice switch up for a recipe I’ve been making nigh unto a decade now.  Adding the kale here was brilliant, and the sausage substitution did not detract.  Would do again.

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2 thoughts on “When the CSA Attacks Your Dumplings…

  1. Those look and sound delicious. But, really, the recipe instructs you to throw away delicious vegetables after you’ve cooked them? That is both so wrong and… I want to say so American, but something tells me it originated elsewhere.

    • That’s not specifically American so much as classic broth making technique. Sometimes you’re putting in things for flavor that aren’t really edible (bay leaves being the easy example), so you have the stage of boiling things in the broth to leech out all their flavor, then the stage of taking them out to make the consumption more pleasant. The veggies come out when you would be taking out the chicken in order to chop it up and leave room in the broth for the dumplings to cook. Adding the vegetables back (or not removing them in the first place) does little to enhance the flavor. The immersion blender makes this easy – using the external blender or food processor makes this a giant pain in the ass that I wouldn’t have done if I weren’t being uber frugal and am probably to lazy to do at all now if I didn’t have tools on hand to make it easy.

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