The end of CSA season brought a complete lack of cooking motivation, and I’ve had a hard time meal planning. It turns out that I find it easier to meal plan working under the constraints of a set of ingredients. As a result, I’ve been going to the grocery store a lot more, which is something I don’t like doing because 1) it’s a waste of my time to go more than necessary and 2) it’s easier to spend money on things I don’t really need the more I go.
So to break this bad streak, I went to the Boston Public Market and tried to cook a few meals based on what they had. And in case you were wondering, they still have a lot! We’re talking squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages, beets, turnips, radishes, celeriac, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, greens, apples, heirloom tomatoes (!), and more. I picked up garlic, cabbage, and carrots for these carrot and cabbage pork dumplings and a squash for another recipe.
Dumplings may seem intimidating, but they truly don’t take much time at all, especially if you have a second set of hands. I don’t hand pleat my dumplings (I don’t have the patience), but I do have a cute, cheap little dumpling press that works great.
The vegetables came from Stillman’s Farm, while the ground pork came from Stillman Quality Meats, both at the Boston Public Market.
Carrot and Cabbage Pork Dumplings
Makes approximately 45 dumpling
Total time: 45 minutes
- ½ pound shredded cabbage, about 1/8 of a large (10″ diameter) cabbage
- ¼ pound shredded carrots, about 2 medium sized carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 package dumpling wrappers (I use Twin Marquis Shanghai style round white wrappers, which I buy in Chinatown)
To assemble the dumplings
- Using the shredding attachment on the food processor, shred the peeled carrots and the cored cabbage.
- Dump the contents of the food processor into the center of a clean, unfolded towel. Gather the corners and twist the towel to tighten it over the vegetables. This will squeeze out some liquid so that your filling doesn’t end up watery.
- Carefully unwrap the towel and transfer the vegetables to a bowl. Add the peeled and minced ginger and the minced garlic and mix well.
- Whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar until sugar dissolves, and pour over the vegetable mixture, mixing well for an even distribution of sauce.
- Add the pork and combine thoroughly, breaking up any chunks of ground pork. You want the pork to be well distributed because only a small amount of mixture goes into each dumpling.
- Set up your stations 1) filling station – bowl of filling and two large spoons (not teaspoons, the bigger ones), 2) assembly station – dumpling wrappers, dumpling press, and small bowl of water, and 3) wax paper-lined tray.
- Using the two spoons, form a quenelle with the filling, using about 4 ounces per dumpling.
- Place a dumpling wrapper in the center of the dumpling press, dip your finger in the water, and run it around the edge – this acts as a glue. Gently place the quenelle in the center of the wrapper and press the dumpling press together and tapping the bottom to flatten it.
- Place standing up on the tray, forming little rows of upright dumplings.
- When you have eight wrappers left, separate your remaining filling into eight equal parts in the bowl. This ensures that if you have too much or too little filling left over, you can fill the remaining dumplings evenly without running out or having leftovers. Continue filling the remaining wrappers.
- Freeze for about two hours and then transfer to a gallon freezer bag.
To cook the dumplings – plan on 3-6 per person
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (depending on the size of the pan)
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- White sugar, brown sugar, or honey
- Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat, preferably cast iron, not much larger than the space that you need for the dumplings.
- Place frozen dumplings standing up and then add enough water to come up the dumplings about ¼ inch. Use less if you are using a bigger pan.
- Cover with a lid and allow to cook 10 minutes.
- Remove lid and continue cooking until water has evaporated and the dumplings have freed themselves from the surface of the pan.
- Mix together a sauce of 1 part rice wine vinegar to 1½ parts low-sodium soy sauce, sweetening just slightly to taste with white or brown sugar or honey.
- Serve over rice.