Great for lazy Sundays or a simple supper with crusty bread, this recipe is inspired by one in Yottam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty' book - and is a recipe which I have, of course, veganised (the book is mostly vegetarian, with some vegan recipes). It's easy to make although the cooking time is quite a while to allow the flavours of the vegetables to meld into the broth.
The original recipe uses floury potatoes and parsnips to make the dumplings, as well as butter and egg, but my version uses sweet potatoes which I like the flavour of more, and either vegan margarine or coconut oil rather than butter.
And there is no egg in mine, so seeing as the dumplings hold together just as well as the 'egg version' (which I made when I was vegetarian, therefore I can compare), it just shows that the egg is redundant in the recipe anyway. No need for it at all - what a waste of a hen's and male chick's life!
I do think the dumplings are fairly unusual though - and I love them for that. I would even go as far to say they are probably an acquired taste, although if you're already fond of parsnip, you'll no doubt love them too. Give them a go if you're after making a meal with a little difference. And mop up the broth with a delicious crusty bread!
Gluten-free version needed? This recipe is gluten-free if you use a gluten-free flour in the dumplings, and substitute the semolina for tapioca (reduce the amount slightly).
Sweet Potato & Parsnip Dumplings in Home-Made Broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig of sage
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
1½ litres of water
255g / 9oz sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
225g / 8oz parsnips, peeled and diced
75g / ½ cup flour (use gluten free flour if required)
50g / ⅓ cup fine semolina (use tapioca if gluten-free required)
2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1 tablespoon vegan margarine or coconut oil
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1. Start by preparing the broth. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pan and sauté the onion, carrots and celery for a few minutes until softened and slightly browned, then add the garlic and fry a couple more minutes. Add the herbs, prunes, peppercorns and cold water, then bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer and covering the pan.
2. Simmer for around 60-90 minutes or more, skimming the froth off the surface occasionally. When the broth is cooked to taste, strain it through a fine sieve to remove the herbs, prunes and vegetables, and then add some of the vegetables back into the liquid.
3. While the broth is simmering, you can make the dumplings. Cook the parsnips and sweet potatoes until soft, with the garlic, in boiling, salted water. Drain well.
4. Put the vegetables into a large saucepan and place on a medium heat, aiming to get some of the excess moisture out. Add the margarine or coconut oil and sauté while continuing to remove moisture. Remove from the heat and while hot, mash them and mix and mash well with the semolina, flour, baking powder, and salt. Wrap the dumpling dough in cling film and chill for 60 minutes in the refrigerator.
5. To serve: Reheat the broth and add seasoning (salt and black pepper) as required. In another pan, bring some salted water to a medium simmer. Dip a teaspoon into the water and use it to scoop out balls of the dumpling dough, and spoon into the water. Cook several dumplings at a time (keep dipping the spoon in the hot water as it makes it easier for the dough to slip off). They are ready when they have bobbed on the surface a few seconds, usually after about half a minute.
6. Remove the dumplings with a slatted spoon, drain, and place in large soup bowls. Then ladle the hot broth around them in the bowls and serve immediately with a good bread.