Clodagh McKenna: Embrace autumn with these melt-in-the-mouth dumplings
This week our chef Clodagh McKenna rustles up light and fluffy sweet potato bites
Even when I lived in Turin in north Italy, I was never a fan of gnocchi, and being part of Slow Food (an organisation which promotes local food and traditional cooking), I got to taste the best. I always felt they were a bit too dense and lacking in flavour. But what I did love was the idea of using up leftover mashed potato.
In Ireland we grow some of the best potatoes in Europe, so I got to thinking we should be making the best potato dumplings because, being more floury, our potatoes create a much lighter and fluffy texture. And there began my obsession - hello light and fluffy potato dumpling, and so long to bland dense gnocchi.
The first time I served up potato dumplings I was hosting a pop-up at the Whitney Museum in New York. I was creating a contemporary Irish supper and so added nettles to the dumpling mix and served them with a Cashel Blue cheese sauce spiced with cayenne pepper. They were sensational.
There are so many ways to serve potato dumplings and delicious flavours you can add.
Another one of my favourites is to add crumbled black pudding to the potato and flour mix. For the recipe below you would add 200g black pudding and adjust the potato to 600g.
So just imagine your supper tonight being a plate of little cushions of sweet potato tossed in crispy sage and bubbling salty butter. It's one of my favourite mid-week suppers. And they are so easy to make - it's a dump, stir and roll situation.
I am using sweet potato in this recipe but you can use regular potatoes too - note that I don't boil my dumplings, as I feel this takes away from the texture.
Sweet potato dumplings with sage butter
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Serve with: Domaine Begude Organic Chardonnay Terroir
For the sweet potato dumplings: 800g sweet potatoes
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the sage butter:
100g salted butter
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
method 1. Cook the sweet potatoes, whole and unpeeled, in very little water for 30 minutes or steam. Once cooked, peel and mash them well or put through a potato ricer.
2. Mix the flour into the sweet potato mash, season with sea salt and black pepper. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until combined. Shape the dough into three or four balls.
3. Dust the surface with more flour if necessary. Using your fingertips, roll the dough into a sausage about 2cm in diameter. Cut the dough into 2.5cm pieces, then roll the dumplings against a fork to create ridges (this will help hold the sauce.)
4. For the sage butter, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the sage and cook until it is slightly crispy.
5. Tip the potato dumplings into the pan and mix them with the sage butter sauce and cook for five minutes, turning to brown each side.