Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

Chicken and Black Pepper Dumplings

September 20, 2020

When I eat my feelings it’s usually a riff on something my mother and grandmother made back in the day. Chicken and dumplings are a staple of my childhood. In their world chicken and dumplings were just a poached chicken and Bisquick dumplings. Adding veg and tarting up a biscuit dough is somewhat treasonous. As always when I make something I’m particularly proud of, my kids wanted none of it. Whatever. One of them is addicted to boxed mac and cheese and the other frequently chews on painters tape. Not arbiters of all that is tasty.

We ate the C&D before I took a picture. So here are the comfort food rejectors on their first day of pandemic school.

Soup:
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbs rendered bacon fat
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 heart of celery w/ leaves, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp poultry seasoning
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound shredded chicken
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbs Dijon mustard


Dumplings:
¼ cup butter, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
black pepper, fresh ground
1 cup butter milk

Sauté onion in bacon fat.  Add the garlic and cook until soft.  Stir in carrots and celery, then add seasonings and stock.  Cook until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.  Stir in chicken, sour cream, and mustard.  Reduce to a simmer.

Melt butter in a microwave proof bowl.  Add all dumpling ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough.  Drop dumplings off of a spoon into simmering soup, but be careful not to boil them or they’ll fall apart.  Partially cover, and cook just simmering for about 20 minutes.

Delight.  Utter delight.  Even given that my kids were all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ because their mission is to fully reject the only food culture I can give them.

Tofu Pot Sticker Dumplings

May 21, 2009

I first made dumplings with my wonderful friend Xin Li in graduate school.  Known as Mama Xin in my little lab of beleaguered grad students, Xin had moved to the US with her husband and daughter from China about 3 years before we met.  She knew the dumplings were my favorite, and would bring them to me if she knew I was having a hard time in the lab.  The day after the funeral of my best friend, there was a hot plate of dumplings left for me with out explanation on my desk. I think I cried for about a week over that.  Asian Dumplings are comfort food, as sure as a big bowl of the puffy Bisquick variety.

Dipping Sauce:
¼ soy sauce
1 tbs chilé garlic sauce
splash white wine vinegar
drizzle sesame oil

Combine soy sauce, chilé garlic sauce, and white wine vinegar.  Slowly wisk in a thin stream of sesame oil (about 2 tsp).

Potstickers:
1 brick extra firm organic tofu
1 cup shredded bok choy
½-¾ cup shredded red cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh green onion tops, chopped
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs hoisin sauce (optional: leave it out for vegans)
2 tbs chilé garlic sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 package goyza wrappers, or wonton skins
4 tbs water
2 tbs corn starch

**Meaty alternative: Combine 1 lb ground pork, ½ cup green chopped green onion, 2 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs hoisin sauce, 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbs chilé garlic sauce.  Use this instead of the tofu/cabbage mixture.

Drain water from tofu and then crush the entire brick in a large bowl.  Add shredded cabbages, carrots, ginger, shallots, hot sauce, soy, hoisin, cilantro, and green onions.  Mix, just to bring together.  Taste the mixture and re-season as desired.  You want a dry mixture. No liquid should pool in the bottom of the bowl.   In a small dish combine water and corn starch.

Prepare an area in which to assemble the dumplings.  You will need: A large plate on which to work, a cookie sheet lined with wax paper (plus additional wax paper for additional layers), a small soup spoon, raw goyza wrappers,  and a clean dry cup towel.

Work Space

Work Space

With the area set up: place a single goyza wrapper on your work plate.  Place about 1 tbs of the filling in the center of the wrapper.  Dip a finger in the corn starch and water mixture, making certain to mix the solution a little. Shake off most of the excess liquid, then run the finger around the bottom edge of the wrapper only. You want to just barely wet the wrapper, not soak it.

Wet the edge of the wrapper.

Wet the edge of the wrapper.

Dry your fingers using the clean cup towel.  Carefully fold the top half of the wrapper down to meet the bottom.  Then pick up the wonton, and use the fingers of one hand to gently seal the edges.  You aren’t trying to press the dough together, only use the corn starch/water mixture as glue.  Carefully press out bubbles. Try not to get the filling in the seam as this will prevent it from sealing.

Seal the wonton.

Seal the wonton.

Place the folded wonton on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Separate layers with an additional sheet of waxed paper. If you don’t wish to use all of them in one day, place the dumplings in single layers in your freezer. When they have completely frozen through, you can bag them and save them in the freezer for about a month. Between the assembly of each dumpling, wipe your plate with the cup towel.  You want a dry work surface.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add about 2 tbs of canola oil to the bottom of the pan.  Place folded dumplings, one at a time, in the hot oil.  DO NOT TURN.  Clamp a tight lid down over the dumplings and let them cook for about 1 minute.  You are actually encouraging the dumpling to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Hence the name potsticker. Lift the lid from the dutch oven and add about ¼ cup of cold water to the pan. Clamp the lid back on and cook for an additonal minute.  This will unstick the dumpling from the pan. If you are using a meat filling make certain it has time to cook all the way through.

Serve, burned side up, with the dipping sauce.

Burned side up.

Burned side up.

I actually prefer the meat filling here.  Somehow the tofu will always be just a tiny bit too watery for my taste.  I like this tofu filling though. It’s got plenty of flavor and is virtually guilt free as far as calories go.  If you don’t want to use the pot sticking method, you can steam the dumplings using a metal steamer basket, a spray of olive oil, and a big pot.  If you would like to boil the dumplings (more precisly you would poach them): bring a large pot of water to just under the boil.  Stir the water slowly with a large spoon to create a vortex.  One at a time, gently drop in the dumplings and cook for about 3 mintutes. Strain and eat.