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Entries in dumplings (2)


Chicken and Dumplings

*Post by Angela.

While we both love food, Mark and I come from very different food backgrounds in terms of what we grew up eating. For me, home-cooked meals were often of Asian origin, usually Chinese. I can't remember ever having meatloaf, sloppy joes, or any other traditional American comfort foods. Mark, on the other hand, grew up with the classics, including chicken and dumplings, something I had never really had until I tried it at dinner at his parents' house. I found this recipe at Simply Recipes, and though it didn't turn out quite as well as I wanted, I liked how hearty it was, great for a chilly fall/winter night.



List of ingredients:

  • 4 pounds chicken thighs and legs (Family Pak, baby!)
  • 8 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock + 2 cups water
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, chopped and well rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • Ground black or white pepper
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves (I used parsley and tarragon)
First I brought the chicken stock and the 2 cups of water to a gentle simmer in a medium pot, and heated 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium-high heat in different (bigger pot). I browned the chicken pieces in the heated oil, placing the pieces skin-side down first (about 3-4 minutes per side).




I peeled the crispy skin off the chicken pieces, ate it, then chucked the rest of the meat into the simmering stock to cook for about 20 minutes (after that, I used tongs to remove the meat, leaving the stock simmering, then stripped the meat off the bones and chopped it up into bite-sized pieces). In the meantime, I brought the bigger pot back up to to medium-high heat and added the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and sautéed until soft, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. I added the garlic and cooked just a minute or two more, then removed the veggies to a bowl.
I heated the remaining 6 tbsp of olive oil in the big pot, then added the 6 tbsp of all-purpose flour and whisked to create a roux, cooking for about 2-3 minutes. 
I added the vegetables back into the pot with the roux, along with the sherry, bay leaves and turmeric. Then I added the hot chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly, until it was all added. Then I added the chicken back in, seasoned with salt and pepper and continued to simmer.
At this point, I was ready to put together the dumplings. I sifted together the 2 cups of cake flour, baking powder, and about 1 tsp of salt in a medium bowl, then mixed in the chopped parsley/tarragon mixture. I added melted butter and half and half to the dry ingredients, and just did a quick mix with a until mixture had just come together.
I dropped dumpling batter in heaping teaspoonfuls into the stew, attempting not to overcrowd any one particular spot, then covered the pot tightly and simmered over medium low heat for about 20 minutes.


The texture of the dumplings were odd - kind of spongey and dense, instead of fluffy, like I wanted. Though I liked how herb-y they were, I may use Bisquick next time. The stew itself, though, was really tasty, thick, velvety and downright, well...comforting.




Soup Dumplings a.k.a. Xiao Long Bao

*Post by Angela.

In order to save money, I aspire to be a bit of a household MacGyver at times, repurposing everyday household items to create budget versions of fancy kitchen implements, and turning the odd condiment/leftover/impulse buy into a magnificent feast.

The other day, I spent several hours making a tonkotsu broth for ramen soup, a broth so rich, porky and filled with collagen that it started solidifying into gel after just an hour in the fridge. This got me thinking about soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, a magical dish that involves combining flavored meat gel with filling inside a dough wrapper, then steaming to allow the gel to dissolve into soup. Since I had so much extra tonkotsu broth left over, I decided to sub it in for the soup gel from this amazing recipe from Steamy Kitchen.



List of ingredients for the dough:
  • 400 grams (just a little over 3 cups) of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

First, I put about 2 ¾ cups of the flour into a large bowl. I started the water boiling, then added it a little bit at a time to the flour, using a pair of chopsticks to stir vigorously. By the way, pouring boiling water into a bowl while “stirring vigorously” with chopsticks is more difficult than you would imagine, so be careful! I kept gradually pouring in the hot water and stirring until it was all added and a dough had begun to form. Then I added the cold water and oil, stirred a little more, then dumped the whole mixture on the kitchen counter with the remainder of the flour and kneaded for about 10 minutes. Once I had a generally smooth and pliant dough, I covered it and let it sit about 30 minutes.



List of ingredients for the filling:
  • 1 ¼ lb ground pork (or 1 lb of ground pork and ¼ lb shrimp, but Mark doesn’t like shrimp, so I made the change)
  • 3 stalks green onion, finely minced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp dry sherry
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 ½ cups gellified tonkotsu broth (recipe here)

In a large bowl, I mixed together all the ingredients except for the tonkotsu broth, which I cut into 1/2” cubes. I took the dough and divided it into fourths, then made little golf ball sized dough balls. I rolled each piece out flat and topped it with about a tbsp of meat filling and a cube of tonkotsu gel. Then I gathered the dough around the filling and pleated it closed.



Once I had used up all the dough, I oiled up the bottom of my steamer and placed the dumplings in, making sure to give each dumpling some room to stretch out a little (otherwise, they will stick together and tear when you try to remove them). I steamed the dumplings for about 12 minutes and carefully removed them to a plate.



These are nowhere near authentic, but damn, if they weren’t great. Although to be fair, that broth is so good, it's bound to be the highlight of any dish that utilizes it. And the dough wrappers I can work on - they were fine, but maybe a little too thick, a mistake I tend to make more often than not for fear that they will tear. In any event, we were thrilled to be able to be able to get soup dumplings without having to drive to SGV, and to use up the tonkotsu broth in new way. Now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go figure out how to turn my crockpot into a pressure cooker using a wire hanger and a hockey ticket...