Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chicken Gyoza in Savory Broth

I’m so glad to be writing this from the comfort of Small Town, Pennsylvania rather than West Texas. While I definitely tried to make the best of it there with my wonderful library job and co-military wives, I did miss Pennsylvania. One of the main reasons is the food I can purchase and make easily here...and my family of course.

 Trader Joe’s my-not-so-secret obsession was one of my first trips after the 25 hour drive with my mother and 4 lb. dog. I was here only a day when I needed to drive down to Philadelphia to spend the weekend with my sister whose fiancé was going on a trip. That provided a good opportunity for a “back to PA” celebration praticing Yoga near the river, eating French food at our favorite restaurant, and of course, a trip to my beloved Joe’s.

That trip provided these lovely pot stickers (also known as gyoza or Chinese dumplings) which are the centerpiece to this dish. I don’t want to call it soup since I like to keep the broth shallow and rather focus on the fresh veggies and pot stickers. Plus, with this incredibly flavorful broth, you only need a small amount rather than a large bowl of liquid.

I love these veggie and chicken filled beauties especially since they aren’t full of preservatives or un-pronounceable ingredients like many grocery-store frozen offerings. But being the product of Trader Joe’s, you can feel a little better about it.

This also makes the meal a little simpler. You can focus on making a really flavorful broth since the dumplings are already made. I love using different color carrots for a contract of colors, (another Trader Joe’s product.) You can use red, yellow, or orange carrots for a beautiful plate. And don’t forget about the garnishes. Like Vietnamese Pho, which inspired this broth, I like the contrast of the umami rich broth to the bright crisp veggies and herbs. At the time, I only have green onions and cilantro along with the carrots, but bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, even Thai basil would be delicious additions. I used homemade broth leftover from a roast chicken. It really makes the difference if you have it!

This recipe is good for about 4-5 servings with 4-5 dumplings in each bowl. This would be an impressive first course, but made a full meal with a salad and maybe some spring rolls on the side…courtesy of Joe of course.

Chicken Gyoza in Savory Broth
(Makes 4-5 servings)

20 frozen chicken pot stickers (gyoza, dumplings, I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
4-5 cups homemade chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup shredded chicken (optional)
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon anchovy paste or fish sauce
1 inch nob of fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Juice of one lime
2 tsp. tomato paste (optional, but adds richness)
1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
Olive oil

Water for dumplings
2 carrots of different colors, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and/or shredded cabbage for garnish

Suggested additions: sautéed wild mushrooms, bok choy, shelled edamame, sesame oil for serving

For Gluten-free: Use GF dumplings or make your own! Use GF soy-sauce and fish sauce and make homemade broth. For Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth, omit chicken, fish sauce and use additional lime juice and soy sauce and use vegetable dumplings.

In a large soup pot, heat to medium then drizzle enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom. In pot, sauté onions until soft and translucent, not brown. Stir in garlic, anchovy paste and ginger and sauté for an additional minute, stirring until well incorporated and not clumpy. Lower heat to medium low and stir in wine. Let simmer for about a minute, then add broth a cup at a time. Stir and let broth simmer on lower heat, covered for 25 minutes.

 Once broth is a nice rich golden color, add soy sauce, Sriracha, lime juice, and tomato paste. Taste broth and add additional anchovy paste (or fish sauce) and soy sauce as need, carefully whisking into the broth. Stir in chicken meat and cook for an additional 2 minutes until meat is warmed through.

 While broth is cooking, heat a large, flat skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Add dumplings, about 5-6 at a time depending of the skillet’s size. Brown for two minutes on flat side, then turn to other side for 1 minute. Add 3 tbsp. water and immediately cover pan, cooking for 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep in slightly warm oven (heat to 200 degrees, then turn off) until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Dumplings should be golden brown on sides.

 Right before serving, stir carrots in the broth. In shallow bowls, place 4-5 cooked dumplings. Carefully ladle broth with the carrots over the dumplings. Don't fill the bowls too high with broth, rather only half-way to the dumplings. Top with cilantro, green onions, and any additional garnishes. Serve with lime wedges, Sriracha, and toasted sesame oil.

Serve immediately. (If there are leftovers, store broth and dumplings separately so dumplings do not get soggy. I recommend cooking dumplings fresh if reheating broth later.)


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