mushroom leek soup with parsley dumplings

this soup is a knock-out. (vegetarian and amazing) A lot of work but well worth it.
2 c water
3/4 dried mushrooms (morel or porcini)
3 /2 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1# crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
1 t finely chopped thyme
3 T dry sherry
1 1/2 c finely chopped onion
3 c (2 large) well washed and thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
8 c vegetable stock
cayenne pepper

3/4 c low-fat cottage cheese
6 T butter
2 large eggs, room temp
1 c all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
pinch nutmeg
1/4 c ground parmesan cheese
3/4 c finely chopped fresh italian parsley

for the soup
bring two cups waer and dried mushrooms to boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cover. Soak 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, place mushrooms on a work surface and thinly slice. Reserve cooking liquid. Set aside.
heat 2 T olive oil in a large skilled over medium high. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add crimini mushrooms and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and saute until mushrooms are browned, stirring often, about 12 minues. Add sherry and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minues. Set mushrooms aside.
Heat 1 1/2 T olive oil in large heavy skilled over medium high heat. Add onion, cook until translucent and starting to brown, stirring often. Add leeks, reduce heat to medium, sprinkle with salt and saute until leeks are soft and golden, stirring often, (15 minutes or so).
Bring broth to simmer in a large pot over medium high heat. Pour in reserved mushroom cooking liquid (leaving sediment in saucepan). Add all mushrooms, onion mixture and cayenne. Simmer a few minutes and season to taste with salt.

dumplings (can be made ahead)
puree cottage cheese in food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat 3 T butter and eggs in medium bowl. Add cottage cheese, 1/2 c flour, 1 t salt and nutmeg. Beat on low speed just to blend. Stir in 1/2 c flour, parmesan cheese and parsley.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Using a teaspoon, scoop spoonfuls of dough (cherry sized) and using a second spoon push the dough into the water. Repeat about 10 at a time until dough is used. When dumplings rise to surface, simmer about 3 additional minutes until cooked through. Can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated.
Melt 3 T butter in large skillet over medium heat (nonstick!). Working in two batches, add dumplings to skillet. Cook until toasted in spots. 2 or 3 minutes per side.
Drop into soup to simmer. Divide among bowls and serve.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Repeat as necessary. (Can be made ahead up to this point. Cover and refrigerate or…)
Melt 3 T butter in NONSTICK skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 baches, add dumplings to skillet and toast 2 or 3 minutes on a side.
Bring soup to simmer. Divide dumplings among wide shallow bowls. Divide soup among bowls and serve.
I think it would be nice with crusty bread and some good slivers of parmesan cheese.

serves 6 to 8

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