Stuck on You

It’s time for the second Daring Cooks challenge, chosen by Jen of use real butter—potstickers! Now, I’ve made pork potstickers several times before, and I’ve even made my own wrappers, but my folding technique was less than stellar, and I’m always up for an opportunity to practice. When it came right down to brass tacks (read: a few hours ago for dinner), all I had on hand was a huge pork loin and some broccoli, so I improvised on the filling pretty extensively, but I think it worked out alright.

I quickly made the dough, which was very simple but required a few extra tablespoons of water to become supple, and let it rest under a damp towel while I made my filling. For this, I halved the filling recipe and minced up some pork loin in my food processor rather than in the grinder, as it was a pretty small amount of meat. I also steamed some fresh chunks of broccoli, heavy on the stems, quickly chilled it in an ice bath, and minced it up to go in the filling along with some rehydrated shiitakes (popped into the boiling water leftover from the broccoli for a few minutes), garlic, ginger, soy and sesame oil.

My rested dough was just a touch on the sticky side, so I kept bench flour on hand and dusted my rolling pin pretty regularly as I rolled out the wrapper rounds. This part was hard, mostly because Nolan kept trying to storm the kitchen to get into everything and then protested at high volume when his daddy came for the interception. Jen’s photos finally helped me get the hang of the pleats, and I turned out some decent looking potstickers in very little time at all.

I used the pan frying method to cook my potstickers, partly because I don’t have a bamboo steamer basket, and partly because I really like the way the bottoms of the ‘stickers crisp up in the skillet. I would have liked to make a creative dipping sauce to go with them, but I was pressed for time and just reached for our Ginger People sauce instead.

These were good, but I like my old potsticker filling recipe better; of course, I didn’t really give this one a fair shake because I had to improvise so many of the ingredients. Still, it was a tasty meal, and helped me get over my slight paranoia about using raw pork in the filling. I also really liked the dough recipe, and finally feel like I am getting the hang of folding them, at least a little. I think I could do it more justice if I cut my fingernails and wasn’t in such a rush to get back to the wailing baby. It made quite a few potstickers, enough for the two of us for dinner with half a dozen leftover in the fridge and a plateful in the freezer—and I could have made lots more with my excess pork filling if I had felt like making up another batch of dough. Thanks so much, Jen, for sharing! And check out all the elegant dumplings at the Daring Cooks Blogroll.

Potsticker Dough

2 C (250g) all-purpose flour
about 1/2 C warm water
flour for work surface

Make the dough (food processor method): Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky. It’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than vice versa).

Make the dough (hand-mixed): In a large bowl, mix flour with 1/4 C of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes, then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking – about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of your desired filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

I am a member of the Daring Cooks. For more information and a list of my previous challenges, click here.

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