As promised, here are the dumplings that have been preoccupying me since I saw Stefan make them on Top Chef a few weeks ago.  They’re every bit as wonderful as I’d imagined — soft and fluffy and rich and absolutely perfect alongside his braised red cabbage.  Instead of the duck breast from the original dish, I cooked a simple pork tenderloin.

Stefan’s recipe calls for chanterelles, but a handful of button mushrooms makes a fine substitute.

Pretzel Dumplings

Adapted from Stefan’s recipe

Yield:  Makes about 30 dumplings.

6 oz. day-old soft pretzels (about 2)

6 slices white sandwich bread

8 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, finely diced

1/2 onion, finely diced

6 tbsp. butter, divided

2 c. whole milk

1 whole egg plus 3 yolks, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided

Rip pretzels into pieces and pulse in a food processor until coarsely ground.  Stack 3 slices of the white bread, remove crusts, then dice.  Repeat with remaining 3 slices.  Combine ground pretzels and diced bread in a large mixing bowl.

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and onions and cook until mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are very tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes more.  Pour in milk, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Immediately remove from heat and pour over pretzels and bread.  Set aside until pretzels are softened and mixture has cooled to lukewarm, then stir in eggs, 1 tbsp. parsley, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Shape dumpling mixture into rounds slightly smaller than a golf ball.  The dumpling mixture is fairly loose, and you’ll need clean, wet hands to form it into balls — it helps to keep a bowl of water nearby so you can rinse your hands frequently without having to go back and forth to the sink a dozen times.  Cook dumplings in simmering water for 5 minutes, occasionally turning with a slotted spoon.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add half the dumplings and cook a few minutes until bottoms of dumplings are lightly browned.  Turn dumplings, sprinkle with half the remaining parsley and a little salt and cook a few minutes longer.  Transfer dumplings to a serving dish and pour butter over.  Wipe out pan and repeat with remaining dumplings.  Serve immediately.