A Dumpling is:
- A piece of dough, sometimes filled, that is cooked in liquid, e.g., a matzah ball.
- Sweetened dough wrapped around fruit, such as an apple, baked and served as a dessert.
British and Irish Cuisine
Savoury dumplings made from balls of dough are part of traditional British and Irish cuisine. The simplest dumplings are made from twice the weight of self raising flour to suet, bound together by cold water to form a dough. Balls of this dough are dropped into a bubbling pot of stew or soup, or into a casserole. They sit, partly submerged in the stew, and expand as they are half-boiled half-steamed for ten minutes or so. The cooked dumplings are airy on the inside and moist on the outside. The dough may be simply flavoured with salt, pepper and herbs, or the dough balls may have a filling such as cheese pressed into their centre.
The Norfolk dumpling is not made with fat, but from flour and raising agent. Cotswold dumplings call for the addition of breadcrumbs and cheese, and the balls of dough may be rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, rather than cooked in a soup or stew. These sour-dough dumplings, when sweetened and made with dried fruit and spices can be boiled in water to make a dessert. In Scotland, this is called a clootie dumpling, after the cloth in which it is wrapped
Cuisine of the United States
Several types of dumplings are popular in the United States. The baked dumpling is popular in American cuisine. These sweet dumplings are made by wrapping fruit, frequently a whole tart apple, in pastry, then baking until the pastry is browned and the filling is tender. As an alternative to simply baking them, these dumplings are surrounded by a sweet sauce in the baking dish, and may be basted during cooking. Popular flavours for apple dumplings include brown sugar, caramel, or cinnamon sauces.
Boiled dumplings are made from flour to form a dough. A pot of boiling chicken or turkey broth is used to cook this dough. The thickness and the size of the dumplings is at the cook's discretion. The size does not affect the taste but the thickness does. It is optional to serve with the meat in the dish or on the side. Chicken and Dumplings is a popular soul food dish that many African Americans cook. It usually served with black pepper on top.
Dumplings can be made with eggs, milk, baking powder or even yeast or just from flour and water. Rolled dumplings are rolled thin and cut into small pieces for cooking, while dropped dumplings are formed into small balls.
Having gained popularity in Alabama (particularly in the central regions) over the last few years is the concept of making boiled dumplings from sliced or torn pieces of flour tortilla. These slices of tortilla are then added to the boiling pot of stock to make dumplings. Popular varieties of Southern dumplings include chicken dumplings, turkey dumplings, strawberry dumplings, apple dumplings, ham dumplings, and even butter-bean dumplings.
In Kentucky, bite-sized, hand-torn pieces of dough are dumped into boiling chicken broth along with a variety of vegetables. It is locally dubbed "chicken-and-dumplins." In common with other Southern savory dumplings, Kentuckian dumplins are not stuffed with anything. They are merely pieces of dough. Some of the flour detaches from the dumpling surface and works as a thickening agent, which makes the signature stew texture of "chicken-and-dumplins" without using another thickener such as corn starch. This is often used as part of locally popular Burgoo (stew).