Months ago I mentioned my dumpling quest to my good friend Michael. Departing from my naturally humble, understated nature, I channeled my inner Julia Child and boasted that I would be making not only Asian dumplings, but also ravioli, empanadas, samosas, and the like.
“My grandmother used to make kreplach” Michael mused. “But I haven’t had it in decades”.
FINE. Go ahead. How Dare You challenge me like that. Of course I can make kreplach. Even though I have no idea what kreplach is.
So, for Michael’s birthday tomorrow, I made kreplach. And I played klezmer music while cooking. just kidding, I played Michael Jackson and EWF.
I found this recipe on line and liked it better than other recipes I looked at :http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kreplach.html
How to make kreplach on a thursday night after working 12 hours:
For the beef: I purchased boneless short ribs from Costco and cooked them in my pressure cooker with salt, pepper, garlic, and wine for 45 minutes (this takes 2.5-3 hours on the stovetop). I did this 2 weeks ago and froze the beef. Then 2 nights ago I caramelized 2 large onions. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my 6 quart Deep Saute All Clad pan? It changed my life. I always use it to caramelize onions.
Since the time consuming steps of cooking the beef and onions were done well in advance, all I had to do last night was cut the Beef into large chunks, dump in the food processor with the caramelized onions, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, a little garlic powder and process till chopped and mixed together, I didn’t process it to a paste. The fat in the cooked beef actually made this a fairly smooth mixture even though the meat was not chopped too fine. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. This is a really delicious filling AND I have some leftover so I will slip it into another unsuspecting dumpling, coming soon to a theater near you.
The dough: 3 cups flour, I added 3/4 tsp salt, and 4 eggs. I dumped it in my kitchenaid mixture and turned it on low. This was my very first foray into an egg pasta, and the result was quite startling, compared to the elastic flour/water doughs of the Asian dumplings. The protein and fat of the eggs made for a very stiff yet pliable dough that is extremely well behaved. NOW I SEE how this could be used in a pasta machine. I’m excited. I’m going to borrow a pasta maker and make real italian pasta. But I digress . . . . back to kreplach: I really hate rolling out sheets of dough and cutting them, so instead I used the potsticker method and hand rolled discs which is fun and not cumbersome. Scoop the filling into the disc using my handy dandy small (2.5 tsp) ice cream scoop, fold in half and seal, then bring the corners together into a ring like a tortellini. Easy Peasy.
The recipes I looked at all call for boiling the kreplach and serving with chicken broth. I decided to do a taste test and boiled a few in water, then drained and served them in broth. The others I cooked directly in the chicken broth. David served as the queen’s taster, and he preferred the kreplach boiled in the broth–it’s saltier. Me, I liked the kreplach boiled in water/served in broth–they had a cleaner flavor. They both had a nice chewy texture to the wrapper, and the filling was beefy and delicious with a sort of creamy texture due to caramelized onions and slow cooked fatty beef. And Both of us wanted to dip these in a spicy/sweet/salty/sour sauce. They seem to lack a little ‘oomph’. Kreplach and sriracha, anyone?
This recipe says it makes 35 pieces, but I cut 48 and the skins still seemed a little thick, and the dumplings kind of big, more than twice the size of a wonton. Once cooked, these are not delicate little creatures. Of course, never having seen or eaten kreplach before, I’m not sure what they are supposed to look and taste like. Help from my Jewish friends is appreciated here.