On a rainy fall day, what is more comforting than dumplings? On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the word dumpling connotes not the golf ball-sized dollops of boiled dough, but rather thin, flat squares referred to as “slippery dumplings.” These are more traditionally boiled in chicken broth and served as a side dish, but here is my vegetarian-friendly version inspired by the original.
Preparing the dumplings
I have found these pre-made in stores in the frozen section, and also dried at my local Amish market. Sometimes they are labeled “pot pie squares.” In the spirit of authenticity, however, I decided to make them from scratch, using a recipe from the cookbook The Chesapeake Collection.
Note that this recipe below makes 200 dumplings — so I halved it!
6 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together and add 2.5-3 cups hot water until dough is easy to handle. Knead until dough is pliable and has a smooth texture, about 4-5 minutes.
Roll out on a WELL-floured surface as thin as possible, about 1/8-1/16 of an inch, and cut into 2×2 squares.
Preparing the recipe
You could just boil these in just enough broth to cover them and serve them as a side dish. You would boil for about 7-10 minutes, until the dumplings are soft and can be cut with a fork, and the broth has a thick, gravy-like consistency.
I decided to add some veggies and make more of a stew.
I sauteed one large diced onion and some minced garlic until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Then I added a package of sliced button mushrooms and cooked until they had reduced significantly in size. Add some salt, pepper, and a little thyme.
When the mushrooms were done cooking, I added about 3 stalks of chopped celery, about 2-3 carrots, chopped, about a quarter cup of frozen peas, and about a tablespoon of freshly chopped chives. Toss in a splash of dry white wine.
Let cook about a minute or so and pour in vegetable broth so that veggies are covered with an inch or two to spare. You can add more broth later as necessary but you don’t want to have too much — it should ultimately have a somewhat thick consistency.
When the dumplings are ready, drop them into the pot one by one. Let them cook about 7-10 minutes, until they can be cut by a fork. Stir occasionally to keep them separated. If the liquid is not reduced, remove the dumplings with a spider and let the broth continue to cook. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve and enjoy!
Non-veg adaptation: when my husband, who is not a vegetarian, made his version, he cooked a chicken in a a slow cooker, covering with water and adding in the chopped vegetables and seasonings. When it is done, you can use that broth to boil the dumplings. Serve separately or mix together as above like a stew, whatever is your preference.
This is the perfect cold-weather comfort food, and if you are using pre-made dumplings it would be a SUPER easy weeknight meal. The refined white flour in the dumplings is probably not the healthiest, but since this recipe is packed with vegetables, it is okay in my book :). Can’t wait to make it again!