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Leek Shumai

Leek Shumai - On their own, these dumplings make a great kickoff to a dinner party, with a flavor profile that’s amenable to almost anything that’s on your menu. They are succulent, savory, and elegant, much more than the sum of the small list of ingredients, with earthy mushrooms, sweet sautéed leeks, a touch of savory roundness from light miso, and a final kick from a good amount of black pepper. Wash the leeks thoroughly to rid them of dirt that gets caught inside: Trim off the root ends, split them in half lengthwise, and peel them open with your fingers under running water, allowing the water to run through the leaves.

MAKES 25 TO 30 DUMPLINGS
Leek Shumai Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light-colored miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 10 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 25 to 30 thin square dumpling wrappers
  • for the bowls
  • Green Salad with Honey-Soy Vinaigrette or Toasted Quinoa with Massaged Kale

How to make Leek Shumai

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with the hot water. Let stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes, until completely tender. Drain, reserving the liquid. Discard the stems and finely chop the caps.
  2. Measure out ¼ cup of the mushroom soaking liquid into a cup or bowl, pouring carefully so as to leave any grit behind. Discard any soaking liquid that remains, or reserve it for another use. Stir in the vinegar and miso until well combined.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring periodically, until the leeks are tender and beginning to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and once it is fragrant, add half of the reserved miso-mushroom liquid, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the pan is mostly dry, another minute or so. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  4. Wipe out the skillet, return it to the heat, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring periodically, until they begin to release some of their liquid, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reconstituted mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the pan is mostly dry. Add the remaining reserved miso-mushroom liquid, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the pan is mostly dry. Stir in the parsley and pepper, then transfer to the mixing bowl with the leeks. Mix to combine, then taste, adding a pinch of salt, pepper, or sugar if needed. Let cool completely.
  5. Set up your dumpling assembly station: Place a stack of dumpling wrappers on one end of a cutting board and cover with a lightly moistened towel or paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Place a small bowl of water and the prepared filling within reach. Also set out a parchment-lined baking sheet and moistened clean towel, for the assembled dumplings.
  6. Fill and shape the dumplings into shumai, arranging them on the baking sheet as you go and covering with the towel to prevent them from drying out. If you’re not eating them immediately, place the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes, until the dumplings have firmed up, then transfer to an airtight container or resealable bag and keep them in the freezer until ready to serve.
  7. To steam the dumplings, heat about ½ inch of water in a skillet until simmering. Use a paper towel moistened with a bit of oil to lightly grease the layers of a stacking steamer unit, then arrange the fresh or frozen dumplings inside so that they’re not touching. Place the steamer in the simmering water. Cook for 3 minutes if the dumplings are fresh, or 5 minutes if frozen. Use caution when opening the steamer, as a cloud of steam will billow out.
  8. Make the bowls: Divide the salad or quinoa among four bowls. Arrange 6 dumplings on top of the salad or quinoa in each bowl and serve immediately.