Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Duck Confit Gyoza with Dried Cranberries

Welcome to summer everybody! For me, this week is a week off of work. What to do... well, besides a few loads of laundry, I feel like pumpin' some jams (currently Blues Traveler) and cooking some food. Sorry, honey, looks like the wedding diet has to wait another week. 

Look at these morsels of flavor.

I used to work in a restaurant where we'd serve duck confit on top of crispy polenta with mushrooms, dried cherries and demi glace. Now, my boss at the time swore that you could sautee anything in demi and it would be delicious. I can't disagree. However, the flavor that really got me in the dish was the combination of dried cherries and duck confit. It was wonderful.

I managed to get my hands on a couple of D'Artagnan duck confit legs a week ago. I wanted to stretch them. I thought some dumplings would be fun. I happen to have a love of all things dumplings. Also the folds can be fun to try to duplicate. Yeah, I'm a food nerd, I know. 

Remembering my time on the line, I decided to add in some dried cranberries to the duck confit with some mushrooms. And, I got to folding. 

They turned out nice, thought I went a little crazy on getting the filling to be really finely minced. They would be better with a coarser texture, so I've altered the recipe a little. I loved these paired with a sweet red chili sauce, which you can find in your Asian ingredient aisle. But, they'd also be good with duck sauce or soy sauce.

Making dumplings is a great way to stretch some left overs, and they can go from freezer to pan, so they will keep for a long time.

Duck Confit Gyoza with Dried Cranberries
makes: about 24 gyoza

2 duck confit legs, meat removed from bones and grizzle
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
8 button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white
24-30 gyoza wrappers (round wrappers about 3 inches in diameter)
1/2 cup of luke warm water, for your fingers when making the gyoza

To Make the Filling:
1.) Pick through the duck confit legs, and remove the meat from the bones. Pick through to find the grizzle and remove it. Give it a rough chop with your knife.
2.) In a heavy bottom saute pan over medium high heat add the canola oil, ginger, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are cooked through and the ginger and garlic are fragrant.
3.) Add the chopped duck confit and cranberries and heat until warmed through. 
4.) Add mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture is roughly chopped, but well mixed. The mixture benefits from being on the coarse side.

To Make the Gyoza: 
1.)  Place about 1 1/2 tsps of filling into the middle of a wrapper. 
2.)  Use your fingers and rub water around the edge of the wrapper, just enough to moisten. 
3.)  Fold the top half of the wrapper and the bottom half to meet until you are holding them like a small coin purse. 
4.)  Using your thumbs, make pleats, starting on the left side, working your way around. (This will make the gyoza slightly crescent-shaped, this is good!) You should be able to get 4 well spaced pleats. If its not perfect, don't worry, it'll still be delicious. 
5.)  Place on a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornstarch until you have enough to freeze. Store in a freezer until ready to use.

To Cook:
1.) In a heavy bottom saute pan, over medium heat add 2 tsp. canola oil. When oil is hot add 6 to 8 dumplings (depending on how many fit) flat side down. Saute until the bottom turns brown and gets crispy.
2.) Add 2 Tbsp water to the pan and immediately cover with a lid. Allow the dumplings to steam until the water is evaporated. Remove from pan and serve warm with dipping sauce of your choice. 

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