Top | Goat
Baked Spinach and Goat Cheese Dumplings
(recipe, Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough)
Bruce made these for lunch one day, and, I swear, I almost passed out. They’re light dumplings, sort of like gnocchi, baked in a creamy white-wine sauce. I was supposed to eat the accompanying salad. But who could waste calories on salad?
- 1 package (10 ounces or 280 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 8 oz. (225 g) fresh chèvre or soft goat cheese, at room temperature so that it’s very creamy
- 4 oz. (115 g) hard, aged goat cheese, such as goat Gouda, finely grated and divided
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup (170 g) semolina flour, plus more for rolling the little dumplings
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced chives or the green part of a scallion
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp. goat butter (or unsalted cow butter, if you must)
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (240 ml) regular or low-fat goat milk (or cow milk, if you must)
- 2 Tbsp. dry white wine or dry vermouth
- First, grab the frozen spinach in small handfuls and squeeze as hard as you can over the sink to get rid of as much excess moisture as you can. Put the bundles in a big bowl and use a fork to separate the spinach back out into bits and threads.
- Whisk in the fresh chèvre or soft goat cheese, half the grated hard goat cheese, the egg yolks, semolina flour, chives, salt, lemon zest, black pepper, and nutmeg. You want a creamy but somewhat stiff mixture, because you’re going to form it into balls.
- Sprinkle a little more semolina flour onto a clean, dry work surface. Pick up a little bit of the spinach mixture, a little smaller than a golf ball. Roll this in the semolina flour to form an oblong ball, sort of like a football but without the pointed ends. Set aside and continue rolling more, adding more flour to your work surface as need be (but not too much, or the balls will turn gummy). You’ll end up with about 24 dumplings.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 5 or 6 dumplings. Lower the heat so the water barely simmers. Poach for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the dumplings from the pot to a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish or an oblong roasting pan. Then add 5 or 6 more dumplings to the pot and repeat the poaching process again — and again — until all the dumplings are done and in the baking dish or roasting pan. (Why not just toss them all into the water at once? Because they’ll crowd the pot and stick together. You want enough space so they can bounce around freely in the simmering water.)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Whisk in the all-purpose flour. Whisk over the heat for 30 seconds. Then whisk in the milk in dribs and drabs, a little bit each time to form a paste — and then more at a time, although never more than a slow, steady drizzle. Once all the milk is in the pan, whisk in the wine, raise the heat to medium, and whisk until bubbling and slightly thickened, just a minute or so.
- Pour this sauce over the dumpling balls in the baking dish or roasting pan. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the dish. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.