Daily Decadence: Rosemary Parsley Dumplings

or surprisingly light bits of savory goodness

The side dish is an oft neglected part of many meals, at least in our house.  First priority is always given to the main dish - be it pasta, beef, pork, chicken, or fish - it always dictates the amount of time and effort that is left over to dedicate to the sides.  But that does not have to be the case, as I am continuing to push my efforts to create more balance in our dinners it is forcing my attention onto this aspect of the meal.  And why not?  Are not some of the best foods served primarily as side dishes?  Potatoes of all fashions are most often sides, and we all know how fond I am of carbs, rice also often finds itself here as do many of our beloved vegetables.  So why not put a little extra love into it?  Not every day mind you, a good steamed vegetable is always welcome on my plate, but once in a while it's nice to give a nod to the unfortunate side kick of the dinner plate - and let it dictate the time allotted for the main dish for a change.  Empower the sides!  Ok, getting a little carried away here...

I will admit that this dish does take a bit more effort then steaming veggies, but trust me it is worth it in the end.  It works best if you have a large stock pot that suspends a colander inside (several inches from the bottom at least) but it can be managed without.  I did attempt this without the assistance and must say that a second pair of hands will be essential when I make it again, the extra hands do not need to be skilled they just need to be able to hold a metal colander while wearing oven-mits (since it does get a bit warm).  Not too much to ask from those intending to dine along side you, is it?  I think not.  Plus it makes the process go so much more quickly, and we all the best part is definitely indulging so why waste time?  Speaking of which, let's get on with this shall we:

1 tsp crushed dried rosemary
½ tsp dried parsley
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup water
2 tbsp butter
Grated Parmesan cheese
Hardware: metal colander fitted stock pot (or metal colander with a large stock pot and an extra set of hands)

1. In the stock pot, fitted with a metal colander if at all possible, bring enough water to a boil to fill the pot with a couple inches space before touching the colander.  

2. Mix the flour, rosemary, parsley, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the eggs and water, whisking well with a fork.  Then make a “well” in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.  Whisk until blended into a smooth texture, this is important since these will be precious little dumplings and will have no room for clumps.  

3. Pour the mixture into the metal colander and use a plastic spatula to press the dough through the holes and into the boiling water.  Sweep back and forth in the colander to keep the dough moving through.  
If your colander doesn’t fit to your pot you will probably want to borrow a second pair of hands to hold the colander for you, one of those indulging in the meal with you could easily be enlisted to help, unless of course you have a truly impressive combination of amazing arm muscles and physical coordination which I do not possess.

4. Let the dumplings cook for another minute then strain and spread out in a single layer on a dry cookie sheet.

5. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a medium sized pan and add in the dumplings. Stir to coat and heat throughout. Add the rest of the butter, stirring until it is melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the dumplings start to turn a bit golden on the edges. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese, toss to coat, then serve hot.

And there you have it! Delightful little bits of savory goodness. Extras can easily be added to soups before step 5, it would be particularly good with a nice broth soup like chicken and vegetables or the surprisingly good broccoli slaw soup I made last weekend (recipe to come soon). The flavor packed into each bite is really surprising, subtle yet distinctly there, it may not be terribly prominent in that first bite but by the second one it will be well established. It's a playful side dish sure to brighten up any meal, and make just about anyone feel at least a tad decadent when it is placed before them. So why not put a little extra effort into a side dish for a change? Who knows, it just may become the star of the meal!

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