Courgette, feta and mint dumplings with brown butter
- July 2023
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 1 hour 30 min
Sauteed courgettes were made to go with the summery flavours of fresh mint, salty feta and a little chilli heat, especially when transformed into these delicious little dumplings. The brown butter and crispy summer leeks on top make this special dish perfect for an al fresco dinner party.
Recipe by Erin Bunting and Jo Facer of The Edible Flower. The Edible Flower: A Modern Guide to Growing, Cooking and Eating Edible Flowers (Laurence King £25) is out now.
Check out more courgette recipes.
- 28g (17g saturated)
- 42g (4.9g sugars)
- 200g ‘00’ pasta flour or plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 1 medium free-range egg
- ½ leek (about 150g)
- Sunflower oil (or another neutral oil) to deep-fry
- 60g unsalted butter
- 150ml soured cream
For the filling
- 550g (about 2 large) courgettes
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 100g feta, crumbled
- 15g mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
- ½ tsp pul biber (aleppo chilli flakes – or another mild chilli flake), plus a little extra to sprinkle
- Finely grated zest ½ lemon
- To make the dumpling dough, put the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork to break up any lumps. Make a well in the centre, then add the egg and 55ml water. Use the fork to beat the egg and water, then start to draw the flour into the wet mixture. Keep incorporating the flour until you have a shaggy dough, then use your hands to bring everything together. If it feels very dry, add a splash more water.
- Turn out the dough onto the work surface and knead for 5 minutes until you have a reasonably smooth dough. Wrap in a beeswax wrapper or put in a food bag and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- To make the filling, coarsely grate the courgettes into a bowl. Add the salt and mix with your hands, massaging the salt into the courgettes. Transfer the grated courgettes to a sieve suspended over a bowl and leave for 20 minutes to drain.
- While the courgettes drain, make the crispy leeks. Cut the leek into 5cm long cylinders, then cut each cylinder in half lengthways. Slice the leek very finely into matchsticks. Pour enough sunflower oil into a wok or saucepan until 3cm deep and heat to 180°C (if you don’t have a thermometer you’ll know the oil is ready when you put the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and bubbles rapidly form around the end of it). Add a handful of leeks to the hot oil and cook for about 30 seconds until the leeks turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper. Season the hot, crispy leeks with a sprinkle of salt. Repeat until all the leeks are cooked.
- Put the drained courgettes in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much remaining liquid as possible, then transfer to a mixing bowl with the egg and mix well. Add the feta, most of the mint, chilli flakes and lemon zest and mix gently. Taste and add a little more salt if needed.
- Dust a tray generously with flour and have a damp tea towel ready to cover the dumplings as you make them. Divide the rested dough into 3 even pieces. Re wrap two of the pieces and just work with one piece at a time to avoid the dough drying out. Roll the piece into a 10cm sausage, then divide into 8 even size pieces. Each piece should weigh about 13g.
- Very lightly dust your work surface with flour. Take a piece of dough and use your palm to flatten it out into a rough circle on the work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to a thin circle, around 9-10cm in diameter. Try to make the edges of the circle a bit thinner than the centre.
- Hold the rolled-out wrapper in your hand, take a heaped teaspoon of the courgette filling and place it in the centre of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half around the filling and press the edges together firmly to seal, trying to remove any air pockets. You will have a half-moon shaped dumpling. Bring together the two ‘corners’ of the dumpling, almost as if you’re making a ring shape, overlap them and press together firmly to join. You’ll now have a tortellini-shaped dumpling. If the dough isn’t sticking together, use a dab of water on your finger to dampen the dough before sealing.
- Put the dumpling on the floured tray, cover with the damp tea towel and repeat with the rest of the dough.
- To make the brown butter, put the butter in a small saucepan over a low medium heat. Once melted watch it, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns chestnut brown. Take the pan off the heat immediately to stop the butter burning.
- When ready to serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Once boiling, gently add the dumplings. Stir carefully at the beginning to stop the dumplings sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes, trying not to let the pan boil too vigorously as that will make them more likely to burst. They are ready when they float to the surface. Remove the dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon.
- To serve, put a dollop of soured cream in the bottom of each bowl. Arrange 5 or 6 dumplings on top and pour over some brown butter. Sprinkle with a pinch of chilli flakes and the remaining mint, then top with the crispy leeks.
The dumplings can be prepared up to the end of step 9, then frozen on a tray. Once firmly frozen, transfer to bags or boxes in the freezer until you want to cook them. They’ll keep for up to 3 months. Cook straight from frozen, adding 2 minutes to the cooking time. The crispy leeks can also be made in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
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