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Brioche and rye dumplings in white bean sauce with a preserved lemon salsa verde

Serves 6-8 
Total time: 40 mins
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins (4 mins per batch)


We’ve been craving dumplings of some sorts for a while before deciding to make a variation that’s not only the easiest and most nourishing summer dish but gives an opportunity to use up stale bread, an opened jar of white beans and any soft green herbs and alliums you have at your disposal. Not to mention that these dumplings are truly delicious! While the soft dough for the dumplings comes together, you quickly blend and heat up a silky green sauce that gives depth and flavour, then, while the dumplings are cooking, you prepare a relish to go on top to add a fresh and interesting boost to the dish. Our extra virgin olive oil, as always, plays a key role in smoothing all the ingredients together and elevating them to a next level.



For the dumplings (makes 30-35 quenelles)

1 yellow or white onion, sautéed
200-250g stale bread; we used 100g challah and 150g seeded German rye
100ml whole milk
150g cooked white haricot beans (drained weight)
2 eggs, raw
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
black pepper to taste
spoonfuls of spelt semolina 

For the green sauce

500ml chicken stock
100g (about 2 cups) leek greens, scallions or other green alliums, spinach or chard
150g white beans, with cooking liquid, if using jarred

For the salsa verde

1 cup of soft herbs, finely chopped; we used a mix of basil, dill, oregano and flat-leaf parsley
1/4 preserved lemon, finely chopped
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
100ml Honest Toil extra virgin olive oil

To serve

Grated hard cheese, such as parmesan or pecorino

Make the dumplings

  1. Tear the challah, brioche or German rye bread to small pieces and place it in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the milk and set aside.

  2. Finely chop and sautée an onion on a tablespoon of olive oil. Once soft, remove from the heat and add them to the bread mixture.

  3. Continue making the dough: either by using a fork or adding everything to a food processor, blitz together all the ingredients until combined. If the dough runs soft, add in a couple of tablespoons of semolina, if it’s too dry, add in a splash of milk. You’re looking for a soft dough that you can shape with a spoon.

  4. Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Salt the water as if you were cooking pasta, about 1 tablespoon of table salt to every liter of water.

Blend the sauce

  1. While the dumpling cooking water comes to a boil, heat water in a kettle or in a small saucepan and blanche the leek greens by pouring hot water on them. Let them cook until they release a bright green color, remove from the water and place them in a blender.

  2. Add in the chicken stock and the white beans, plus some of the cooking liquid from the jar if you use high quality jarred beans. Blend until smooth, taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

  3. Once blended, gently heat up the sauce before serving.

Cook the dumplings

  1. Once the cooking water is boiling, start shaping the dumplings and add them to the water as you go, one by one.

  2. To get these beautifully shaped dumplings, we used a technique called quenelle: dip two spoons in the hot water and shake off the excess. Take a generous scoop of the dumpling mixture and pass it repeatedly between the spoons, turning and smoothing each side until a neat quenelle is formed. Drop the dumplings right to the cooking water.

  3. Once you have 6-8 dumplings going in the cooking water, take a break and wait a couple of minutes until they rise to the surface. Once they do, lift them up by using a slotted spoon and place on a plate. They are ready.

  4. Repeat this process until you use up all the mixture from the bowl.

Make the salsa verde and serve

  1. Finely chop the herbs and the preserved lemon wedge, add to a small bowl.

  2. Mix in our extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey to taste. The salsa should taste slightly acidic yet salty from the lemons, very fresh and piquant.

  3. Serve: add 3-5 dumplings per person to a bowl and ladle the sauce over not covering the dumplings. Drizzle with the salsa verde and grate hard cheese to finish.
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