It’s been too long.
There are no excuses.
But needless to say, it would take something a bit more interesting to lure me back here to blog about my cooking.
I blame you, Yotam Ottolenghi. You and your Guardian recipes. More precisely, this one: rye dumplings in borscht
I’ve never made dumplings. Borscht, yeah, lots. But dumplings, no.
Had to try it. And of course, had to streamline it and downsize it because I’m lazy and not cooking for four. If you want to follow Ottolenghi’s recipe like a slave, click on that link. But if you want to wing it like me, read on.
I basically sort of halved all the measurements:
- 3 slices of 100% rye bread (in Finland, the best for this is your traditional ready-sliced “limppu”), toasted
- a handful of walnuts, toasted and blitzed/chopped for texture
- the zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
- a handful of dill, finely chopped
- a pinch of caraway seeds, blitzed with the bread and some of the walnuts
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- two pinches of fennel seeds
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 5 dl vegetable stock
- 300 g (two good-sized) beetroots, peeled and cut into suitable bits
- a squeeze of lemon juice
Make the dumplings first and put them in the fridge to sit for at least an hour – mine sat for three while I was in dance class…
Heat a dry pan and toast the bread and nuts. Just crumble the bread onto the pan, leave out the crust. Put aside some of the toasted walnuts and chop them up roughly. The rest put in your blitzer and grind together with the bread and the caraway seeds.
Mix the egg, the lemon zest and the dill in a bowl and add the nuts and bread. Once it’s even, take even amounts of the dumpling dough and roll it into balls (you should get 6-7 balls from a batch). Put them in a container to sit in the fridge.
Then start making your borscht. Heat the olive oil in a pan big enough for your half a litre of soup. Chop the onion, crush the garlic, and sauté them in the oil along with the fennel seeds and a pinch of salt.
Once the onions have softened up, add the vegetable stock. Ottolenghi’s recipe says to leave 1 quarter of the stock for poaching your dumplings in a separate pan… I failed to note that and just poured all the liquid in. But then I realised that it might be nicer to poach the dumplings in the soup, so they can become as beetroot red as the borscht. And there’s less pans to wash up afterwards…
So just pour it all in, be my guest. Followed by the chopped up beetroot. Add some black pepper to taste and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. The total cooking time, for the beetroot to soften properly, is 50 minutes. But about 25 minutes in, you can poach your dumplings. Do them in batches of 3-4, depending on how they fit in your pan. Make sure they’re covered in liquid. Poach them for about 3-4 minutes per batch and then fish them out with a spoon and put aside.
After your borscht has been simmering for 50 minutes it should be ready. To serve, place 3 dumplings in a bowl and spoon the borscht over them. Add a table spoon of sour cream and garnish with some dill (mine was on its last legs but still edible).
Surprisingly easy and delicious.