If your freezer is like mine, you have those pesky two-pound plastic tubes of plain ground elk or venison that live at the bottom. You usually find these after all the steaks are gone and the tacos and spaghetti have run their course. Now it’s time for a change. Enter the dumplings. Perfect for potlucks or dinner parties, these are very easy to make. You can also make a bunch ahead of time and freeze them for quick use later on.
Yields about 25-30 dumplings
2 pounds ground elk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, fresh ground
1 tablespoon ground lemongrass
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup carrots, shredded then finely chopped
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Note: You can save time by using pre-made pot sticker or dumpling wrappers, but with a little extra effort, these homemade ones are so much better.
4 cups flour
2 cups boiling water
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup water
To make homemade dough wrappers:
Using a medium, wide-mouth mixing bowl that you can comfortably place both of your hands into, pour in the flour and salt, and mix well. Create a well in the center, and slowly pour in the hot water. With a wooden spoon, mix in the water until clumps form. Knead dough with hands. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.
Form it into one ball, remove from the bowl, and place on a flat and lightly floured surface. The dough should be soft and not sticky. It needs to hold its shape. Knead aggressively for at least 5 minutes, or knead for 10 minutes if you are taking your time or your hands get tired. Once the dough is well-worked and smooth in texture, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
If using a tortilla press:
After the dough has rested for an hour, cut it in 1 inch balls. Dust the surfaces of the press with potato starch to keep the dough from sticking and flatten the dough balls.
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If you are using a rolling pin:
Dust the rolling pin surface and the counter top with potato starch. Roll out about 1/2 of the dough at a time depending on you work area. Cut the flattened dough with a 4” round cookie cutter to make wrappers. Save the scraps and knead the dough smooth again then roll out for more rounds.
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In a large bowl, mix all ingredients for the filling except the breadcrumbs. Once all the ingredients are well mixed, fold in breadcrumbs.
Assembling the dumplings
Place one 4-inch round wrapper in your hand, and add a large spoonful of filling (slightly smaller than a golf ball) to the center of the wrapper. Leave enough room around the edges of the wrapper to fold it over and press the edges together with about 1/2 inch of wrapper remaining on all sides
You will need to fold over the wrapper and seal the edges. Dip the tips of your fingers in a bowl of warm water and wet the inside edges of the dough halfway around the edges of the dough round. Fold in half and pinch the edges to seal together. Start pleating edges of the dough together to seal the dumpling.
Place dumplings on parchment paper, and keep them covered with a light towel to prevent them from drying out.
Once all the dumplings are assembled, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Arrange the dumplings in a single layer in the pan, and fry for 3 or 4 minutes, until the bottoms are golden. Add 2/3 cup of water, and immediately cover the pan with a sealing lid.
Let dumplings steam for 10 to 15 minutes, where most of the water is evaporated, but add more water if needed to keep steaming for the full amount of time.
Remove dumplings from the pan. Serve with sauce in a dipping bowl.
For the Sauce
In a small saucepan, on medium high heat, add garlic, sesame oil and onions. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes until aromatic. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring to boil. Remove from heat and pour into a dipping bowl.