Cheese Dumplings With Paprika Meat Gravy

From time to time I feel that its absolutely mandatory to make a dumpling of some sort. Don’t ask me why but its almost like an itch I just have to scratch. I do make homemade pierogi a few times a year but this time I wanted to go for something a little less, well lets cut to the chase . . . I was feeling lazy. These dumplings are dense but delicious and  spectacular, but most often dumplings are a side dish, or floaters in soups. I like to brown these gnudi-like dumplings in butter. Topped with an earthy paprika meat gravy they are hearty, frugal friendly, and delicious!

Cheese Dumplings-

  • 1 cup flour
  • 12 ounces to 1 pound Farmers Cheese (Substitute Cottage or Ricotta Cheese)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl combine egg and cheese. Mix until incorporated. Add flour and salt. Stir to combine. If the dough is far to wet you can add up to 1/2 cup more. The dough should be somewhat dense but very easily pliable. Place dough out on a floured surface and knead the dough 1-2 minutes or until it is combined and smooth.

Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop divide the dough into balls. Roll each one into flour and roll in between your  hands to form a smooth ball. I found that spreading the ball in between two hands formed enough tension to bring the dough together very easily. This resulted in an extra smooth solid sphere. I then rolled each ball in the flour and rounded off the shape. (If you are a baker its very similar to rolling out bread rolls) Perfection is not mandatory you can simply pinch nubs into a similar size and drop them as-is.

If you would like to use a large pot bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. I used a small 2 quart pan and dropped only 5 or 6 at a time. Once water is boiling drop formed dumplings into the water. Boil for approximately 3 minutes if you are using standard golf-ball-esque sized balls. Whatever the size usually they are done once they float to the top of the water.

Remove from pan and place on a flat plate or cooling rack. If you are serving them without sauteeing them you will serve them warm. To saute them simply add 2-3 tablespoons of butter to a pan and swirl the dumplings around or flip them over periodically until golden brown on all sides.

Sauteing in butter.
Paprika Meat Gravy-

Brown 1 pound of ground meat with a little bit of bacon fat or olive oil. Add some minced onion and 1 tablespoon of paprika, salt and pepper. (You want to saute the paprika a little bit so it does not taste “sandy” one or two minutes is fine.) Then add 1 teaspoon Italian dried herbs and one quart of home canned tomatoes or tomato sauce. Simmer 30 minutes and stir in  2 tablespoons of butter. I sometimes add a bit of sugar and vinegar. Serve with sour cream and fresh parsley if available.