Salutations, Pizza Freaks! After MANY requests for pizza soup, as well as pizza dumplings, we're serving up the best of both words: PIZZA DUMPLING SOUP! Oh yes, tiny little pizza-packed dumplings, boiled until tender and served in a tomato-y, pizzalicious broth. And, we've gotta say, it might just be our best recipe yet.
You'll have to find out for yourself! If you're the kind of Pizza Freak who's also a Dim Sum Freak, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND giving this recipe a whirl. If we could require you to do so, we would. It's just that good, folks. And how could it not be? The art of soups and the art of dumplings are ancient, perfected over many, many millennia.
From the traditional Chinese jiaozi dumpling, to the good ol' American Hot Pocket—dumplings are loved round the world! So, get your taste of human history in a warm, steamy bowl of pizza dumpling soup. As always, we got you covered on the recipe, so go on and check it out.
Soup & Dumplings: A Tale as Old as Time
Seriously, soup is THAT old. It may be the most ancient food we've delved into yet on the ETP blog! Some archaeological evidence of pottery from early human history suggests that a form of soups or broths existed in 20,000 B.C. That's over 22,000 YEARS AGO, around the time that some scientist believe our ancient Siberian ancestors were crossing the Bering land bridge into North America!! But, as you'll learn in today's episode, there are others who believe the very first soup was made around 6000 B.C.—a tasty hippopotamus soup. In the words of Alyssia: yum, yum, yum!
But, even back in the day, brothy soups just weren't enough to fill a hungry belly (nor many hungry bellies). So, around 2,000 years ago, humans upgraded their bread-and-broth by making DUMPLINGS. Of course, bulking up soups and stews with meat was preferred, if you could afford it. But, dumplings were cheaper, simple, and filling—an every-woman's food, much like dear pizza. Some of the first known dumpling recipes have been found in the legendary cookbooks of Marcus Apicius from the 1st century A.D. The culinary pioneer from Ancient Rome experimented with simple, boiled pockets of dough (sort of like gnocchi), and similar variations are still gobbled up across Europe.
But, some historians believe that traditional jiaozi dumplings are even older. There's an old legend about Zhang Zhongjian, the fabled inventor of the Chinese stuffed dumplings. After a long time away, Zhang came home to his village during winter to find the villagers suffering from frostbite, the worst of it around their ears. So, Zhang whipped up some mutton, chili, and healing herbs—but didn't stop there. He wrapped it up in scraps of dough, folded them to look like little ears, then boiled them and passed them out to neighbors. We're not sure if they cured the frostbite, but whoever survived sure kept making the dumplings, carrying on the jiaozi tradition that still exists today. Thanks, Zhang!
What Are Dumplings?
A dumpling is basically a tiny dough pocket stuffed with any number of delicious fillings: meats, fish, cheese, veggies, or even fruits and sweets! Or, it can just be the delicious dough by itself. The dough is often made from bread flour and/or potatoes, and dumplings are usually steamed or boiled. But, they can also be fried or baked! For the best dumpling experience, you're supposed to eat each dumpling in one whole mouthful so you experience all the combination of flavors and fillings. And, although dumplings are generally eaten with chopsticks, if you're not so chopstick savvy, just eat 'em with your hands—never pierce dumplings with a fork! (It compromises the flavor. Don't disrespect the dumpling.)
China is known as the dumpling capital of the world, in part because it's thought that dumplings originated there. But, even though China has perfected the art of dumpling-making, the term "dumpling" isn't even a word that's used throughout the country! Traditional Chinese boiled dumplings are known as jiaozi (remember our pal Zhang). And, they're still enjoyed today, particularly on the 5th day of the new year in China. Jiaozi are said to represent good fortune and prosperity, so some of the dumplings are actually stuffed with gold coins on that day and, if you bite into a coin, you'll have an exceptionally lucky year!
The word dumpling is thought to come from the low German word, dampf, which means "steam." There's a German dumpling called the dampfnudel, and etymologists guess dampf eventually became dampf-ling and then dumpling. Makes sense to us! But, dumplings are enjoyed ALL over the world, in literally EVERY cuisine you can imagine, as main dishes, sides, and sometimes desserts. And, each culture has their own unique names and interpretations for the dumpling. There's the Japanese gyoza, the Polish pierogi, the Indian samosa, the Mexican tamale, and even the Italian gnocchi and tortellini! The world runs on dumplings, folks.
You Wanted Pizza Soup. You Wanted Pizza Dumplings. Why Not Both?
Seriously, guys: YOU NEED TO TRY THIS RECIPE. If you're going to try any recipe, even just one recipe in your life, we're telling you this would be a sound choice as The One. It's warm, it's salty, it's meaty and cheesy inside every dumpling bite. Plus, they're fun to make! And, how many chances do you get to drink and slurp a pizza? So get to the kitchen, grab your chopsticks (or don't), and get to slurping the pizza dumpling soup.
Pizza Dumpling Soup Recipe:
- 2 Tbsp oil
- ¼ cup onion, roughly chopped
- 3 whole garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 can tomatoes
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups veg broth
- ½ pound Italian sausage
- ¼ cup onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- ½ - 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 Tbsp basil
- 2 tsp oregano
- pepperonis, chopped
- 16 dumpling wrappers (from refrigerated section of Asian market. Can use wonton wrappers instead if you cut them into circles, but the edge won’t pleat as well.)
- fresh basil, chopped
- mozzarella cheese
To make your Pizza Soup Broth:
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium. Cook onion and garlic until softened.
- Add tomatoes and herbs. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-60 minutes, until liquid is reduced.
- Remove from heat and strain broth to remove large pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make your Pizza Filling:
- Brown sausage with onions and garlic in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often (about 5 minutes, or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink).
- Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and pepperoni.
- Allow to boil for a minute or two, until warmed through, then remove from heat.
To make your Pizza Dumplings:
- Place one dumpling wrapper on a flat surface. (Keep remaining wrappers covered with a towel or plastic to keep from drying!)
- Moisten edge of dumpling wrapper with water. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of pizza filling into center and add 1-2 teaspoons mozzarella cheese. Fold wrapper in half and pleat edge to seal.
- Keep finished dumplings covered with a damp cloth while finishing the rest.
- Once dumplings are assembled, boil pizza broth over medium heat. (We separated a smaller portion of our broth into a saucepan and left the rest in a bowl. You’ll be cooking the dumplings in the same broth that you’ll serve them in as a soup!)
- Gently stir in 8 dumplings. Cook 4-5 minutes, or until they float to the top.
- Place cooked dumplings into soup broth and continue cooking remaining dumplings in batches.
- When ready to enjoy, ladle broth into a bowl and add as many pizza dumplings as you’d like.
- Serve and now slurp up the Pizza Dumplings already!
Yields a buncha lil' pizza-fied dumplings in a steamy pizza soup. Enjoy 'em while they last, folks.