Chinese Pork Dumpling Soup with Edamame, Shiitakes, and Greens
When I posted a photo for this dish on Instagram and Facebook over the weekend, I had quite a few of you asking me for the recipe. Alas, when I made this dish on a very lazy Sunday I didn't use a recipe at all, just went through my pantry and fridge, looking to use up leftovers and cans of things hiding at the back of my cupboards. So, while I will give you guys a recipe, I strongly believe that sometimes the best dishes are happy accidents in the kitchen, so feel free to deviate with gusto and to your own personal taste. This is just a guideline.First to make would be the pork dumplings. Now, I often have frozen dumplings that I've bought at my Asian food shop hiding in my freezer and I freely admit to using them with wild abandon. When I hit the Asian shop I'm like a kid on Christmas morning, stockpiling wonton wrappers, frozen giant shrimp (very hard to find here fresh and prepared), vats of soy sauce and rice, frozen edamame, frozen kaffir lime leaves and all manner of frozen dumplings/gyoza/shumai (call them what you will). Given the fact that my freezer holds little more than a bag of ice and the vast quantities of Arabic coffee and various spice mixtures that my mother-in-law hoists on me every time I visit, cramming my precious cargo into the teeny tiny drawers is akin to doing one of those moving squares picture puzzles they used to give kids on airplanes. Anyway, although I didn't have any prepared pork dumplings on hand, I did have some leftover pork mixture from my Pilmeni recipe of a couple of weeks ago. That, plus some seasoning and wonton wrappers and I had my dumplings sorted.Pork Dumplingsmakes 251/4 pound ground pork4 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed1 green onion, chopped1 garlic clove1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped1 teaspoon soy sauce1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil1/2 teaspoon dry sherrypinch of each salt and pepper25 wonton wrapperscornstarchIn the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together all of these ingredients except the wrappers and cornstarch. Now lay out your wonton wrappers on a clean surface and place a heaped teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of each square. Now take your finger, dip in water and moisten all edges of the wonton before folding the square to make a triangle (I had round ones which worked just as well so they made little half moons). Press all the edges together firmly to ensure they're sealed. Place the finished wontons on a tray that's dusted with cornstarch which keeps them from sticking together. You can freeze the dumplings at this point if you like.Chinese Soup Baseenough for 23 cups of chicken stockhandful of dry shiitake mushrooms1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced2 garlic cloves, smashed2 tablespoons soy saucedash of fish sauce1 teaspoon toasted sesame oilOptions:sesame tarefresh Shiitakes, slicedbaby bok choy, spinach or other greengreen onionsbamboo shoots or water chestnutsedamame, shelledblack or white sesame seedschili sauce of your preferenceNow comes the soup portion of the dish. I took some homemade chicken stock - I always hate it when Ina Garten refers to "GOOD" chicken stock in her recipes, but in this case, when making a broth, I do think there's reason to use the best stock you can. Add to the stock the dry shiitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic cloves, soy, fish sauce and sesame oil and bring this to a boil and then put a lid on your pot and let it steep, off the heat for about half an hour. I then drained solids from the broth, keeping the shiitakes on the side and chopping them up for the finished soup (ideally you'd have fresh shiitakes to use in the finished product, but I was fresh out, so the dry had to do). Bring the broth to a boil once more and at this point I added a 1/4 cup of the sesame tare that I had leftover from when I made the Chicken Tantanmen Ramen a la Bone Daddies. This gave my version a lovely peanut butter richness and a bit of spice (plus the damned GOOP recipe had me make so much more than I needed that I'm desperate to use it up). Once that was dissolved and the broth came to a boil, I added the dumplings, reserved chopped shiitakes, and frozen edamame and allowed them to simmer for about 8 minutes. Now I added some bamboo shoots I had leftover in my fridge, some baby spinach leaves on the verge of going bad and a chopped green onion. I let the entire soup simmer for a minute longer and transferred all of the goodness to a very large bowl, topped the whole thing with more green onion, black sesame seeds and a squeeze of siracha.