I love bread.
I love it so much that I not only feel bad throwing any away, I feel actively sorry for the heels and crusts, so much less desired than their doughy siblings in the middle of the loaf.
So any time I finish a loaf I store the heels in the freezer and when my stash is big enough I make something lovely – breadcrumbs to be salted and seasoned and top a bowl of pasta or a gratin, or to bread chicken or cauliflower fillets.
Another go-to are these sourdough dumplings, the perfect accompaniment to stews in place of potatoes. In this picture I served them with some leftover roast chicken that I cooked in an enriched-with-roux stock and added lots of veggies and herbs. Kinda like a chicken pot pie in a different format.
I got this idea from the fabulous Rachel Khoo years ago and have been making it regularly ever since.
The basil and parmesan are optional, they are just two things I usually have to hand. I often save parmesan rinds, roughly chop and blitz them and add them to the mix – making them even more virtuous from a zero – waste perspective. Plus those little nuggets of melted, gooey, salty parmesan are really not something you want to miss out on.
400g stale bread – heels, crusts or otherwise
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
30g fresh basil
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
Rip or slice the bread into bite sized pieces.
Heat the milk in a saucepan until it reaches the shiver stage. Grate over half a nutmeg and stir.
Pour the hot milk over the bread, set aside for several minutes until it absorbs.
Crack the eggs into the bowl of a food processor and blitz with the milk -soaked bread until it forms a very thick paste. Add the flour, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan and blitz to combine. Roughly chop the basil and stir to combine.
Scoop into balls slightly larger than golf balls, shape with your hands. I find this process easier and less sticky if I frequently dip my hands in water.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a baking tray. Place dumplings on tray and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping over halfway through. When they are firm, crispy and golden brown they are done.