Monday, April 4th, 2016
When something goes wrong in the kitchen don’t toss it, repurpose it.
The Sweet Potato gnocchi didn’t turn out as delicate as I would have hoped. What would you do? Can’t just toss them out. There’s not a lot of money invested in but a lot of time, time mixing and kneading and rolling, time you will never get back. Plus they reminded me of my mother. They were just like the dough-bombs she used in her chicken and dumplings (heavy sigh).
And I’m sure that In some cultures a hard gnocchi is a delicacy , dense dumplings delighting de world.
I love dumplings in all their variations. Ravioli & tortellini gyoza & wantons, pierogi & keblach, spaetzle and yes, gnocchi. These are all dumplings and I love them all.
What dumplings are not, however, is Bisquick batter dropped into a chicken stock. My apologies to Betty Crocker but Soggy bread floating in my soup is not my idea of dumplings.
So what did I do with my mess up? Took my dense yet intense sweet potato gnocchi and made chicken and dumplings. Now in the south the sauce used in this dish is thick and nearly coagulating and the vegetables are close to mush. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s DELICIOUS.
The sauce I used to offset the dense gnocchi/dumplings/lead weights was a light chicken velouté with some tarragon and a little lemon juice. The vegetables, carrot, celery and onion, were firm yet thoroughly cooked.
A Velouté sauce is one of the 5 “Mother Sauces” designated by Auguste Escoffier in the early 1900’s. Velouté is similar to a béchamel, starting out with a roux of equal parts flour and butter. But instead of adding milk to make a white sauce you would add a stock, usually chicken or fish.
3 Tablespoons of butter
3 Tablespoons of flour
2 Cups Chicken Stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon of dried tarragon
Salt and white pepper
In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat then add the flour. Raise the heat to medium and stir the butter and flour together for about 2 minutes. This is a light sauce do don’t over cook the roux.
Whisk the simmering stock into the roux 1/2 cup at a time and keep heating and whisking. When the stock begins to simmer again, turn down the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
A thin skin may form, just skim it away with your spoon. Depending on your stovetop, the sauce may take 5 – 10 minutes to get to your desired consistency. Add the lemon juice and tarragon. Remove from heat and season with salt and white pepper.