Parsnip Dumplings with Maple-Balsamic Sauce

>> Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I must blame Angela (from Oh She Glows) for my obsession with parsnips. She posted this amazing recipe for nut butter parsnip fries a couple weeks ago; now, we're hooked. Before this discovery, I had never tasted the writhing root vegetable (which, by the way, can be used in a multitude of ways -- boiled, roasted, baked, or used in stews, soups, and casseroles). And I never expected the pale carrot-cousin of sorts to have so much nutrition, especially potassium and fiber.

Our obsession has reached a critical point: We bought ALL the parsnips at Wegmans this past weekend (to be fair, they don't stock many). Of course, we're wondering what to do with them all now that we've run out of almond butter. So, this recipe gave us the opportunity to use them in yet another creative way.

Confession time: This dish was originally a try at gnocchi, but the end result resembles dumplings, so we just had to change the name. Also, this recipe looks incredibly long and intimidating. But I assure you, it was easy enough for a dinner on a Tuesday night. No worries!

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 pounds parsnips (we estimated, used how many you see shown above)
  • 2 to 3 cups flour (we used a mix of wheat pastry and unbleached white)
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Walnut or olive oil
  • Three heaping handfuls of baby spinach

Method . . .
  1. Skin parsnips and chop off ends. Then chop into thinner slices for easy steaming. Steam until soft and completely mash-able. We did this on the stove, but a microwave-safe container with a little water in it should do the trick, too.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork or potato masher until all lumps are gone.
  3. Then in another large bowl, heap in one cup of flour. Then throw in the parsnip mash.
  4. Mix together the chia seeds, flax meal, and 4 tablespoons of water. Wait for about two minutes until the mixture thickens. Then pour on to of the parsnips (this mixture is acting as an egg to help stabilize the whole thing).
  5. Gently mix everything together with a spatula or even your hands. However, don't knead too terribly much, it'll still be very sticky.
  6. Add the next cup of flour . . . the key to this whole process is to mix gently until just combined -- resist the urge to handle the dough too much.
  7. If needed, add in the next cup of flour -- but in 1/4 cup intervals. You want the resulting dough to not be sticky, but not be too dry.
  8. Then divide dough into four equal parts and on a lightly floured surface, roll out into a long tube about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Then cut into 1/2 inch slices and press with a fork gently. Set aside on plates until you're ready to cook.
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Sprinkle a bit of salt in there, too, for good measure. Then cook the dumplings in two shifts.
  10. Add the first half of the dumplings, stir so they don't stick to the bottom . . . and then time for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Beside your boiling pot, place a large fry pan with two tablespoons of walnut or olive oil in it. Don't put any heat on this pan just yet.
  12. I used a slotted spoon to transfer the "done" dumplings to this fry pan. You'll know they're done cooking when they start to float to the top. Do not overcook.
  13. Repeat with the second half of the batch. Transfer again to the fry pan.
  14. Discard the boiling water . . . then over low heat, toss the dumplings with the spinach until the spinach starts to wilt.
  15. Serve as is . . . sprinkle some nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese on it . . . or make the following: Maple-Balsamic Sauce.

What you'll need . . .
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Earth Balance or other butter substitute
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch

Method . . .
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and Earth Balance. Heat until bubbling.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and potato starch. Then mix into the maple mixture.
  3. Stir in the garlic and then turn off heat and allow to thicken slightly.
  4. Spoon over your parsnip dumplings. A little goes a long way.

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