Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christ is born! and homemade soup dumplings

Glorify Him!

I went home to visit my parents and stuff my face with goodies and have had a great time here. Here's my sister with her hair freshly dyed, I find it really pretty:

And here's the whole family:

The cold cuts that I bought from the Charcuterie de Tours in the Atwater market. From left to right: serrano ham, rosemary ham, coppa, torchon ham, and proscuitto:

And the dumplings I made with my new pasta maker (sorry for the yellowness, I have no photo editing program to fix it at the moment):

For the stuffing:

1lb pork hocks
1/2lb ground pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Put the pork hocks in a large pot and slit the skin in 2 or 3 places so when it shrinks it doesn't squeeze the meat. Cover with water, add a tsp or so of salt and simmer for 2 or 3 hours, skimming off the scum and topping up with water to keep them covered. Make the pasta while the hocks are simmering. After an hour or so they should be tender enough to pull apart, pull them apart and keep simmering them to get all the collagen out. When they're done, strain the meat and bones from the liquid, leave the liquid in the pot and continue boiling it to reduce it by about half.

Once the meat has cooled enough to handle, pick the meat away from the fat and bones, pull it apart and set aside. Give the fat and bones to a very grateful dog or cat, if you have one. Fry the ground pork with the onions, chives, garlic, and salt & pepper to taste, just till the meat is cooked through and the onions are beginning to be translucent.

In batches, put the ground pork and meat from the pork hocks into a food processor or blender and blend till the texture is finer, but not a paste. Add the blended meat to the reserved pork stock (you should have roughly equal amounts of stock and meat) and mix it well, seasoning more if needed. Chill it till firm (like creton, for us Quebecois, or rillettes, for those who have no honking idea what creton is).
For the pasta (you can do this while the pork hocks are simmering):

2 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
4 tbsp water
2 eggs, beaten

Mix the flour and salt in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another. Add the wet to the dry and stir quickly with a spoon, when you can't use a spoon any more dump it out onto a clean dry surface and mix with your hands. If after a few minutes you can't incorporate all the flour add a bit of water and oil. It's supposed to be very hard, it takes about 15-20 minutes of kneading till it gets completely smooth. It shouldn't be sticky. For this part I had to get my mom to knead it cause I wasn't able to.

Then cut into chunks a bit smaller than fist-sized, and run it through the pasta machine on the largest setting (I'm guessing this varies from one machine to another, but on mine the largest is roughly 1/4") a few times, folding it in half after each time till it's nice and smooth and even. Then run it through again on the next lowest setting, without folding it, then the next lowest, and so on till you get to about 1/16" (which is #4 on mine), or thin enough for pasta but not so thin that it breaks. Then cut out into circles, or squares, or whatever shape you want and is easy to stuff. If you don't have a pasta machine it can be done with a rolling pin but it's a lot more work. Store the cut pasta on a plate covered with saran wrap in the fridge till needed.

To assemble:

Simply spoon the filling onto the circles of dough, it'll take a bit of trial and error to find out how much is just enough to fill them. Wet the edge on one half of the dough, and fold over, pressing the middle gently to get the air out, and then press the edges together firmly so they seal properly. If you want you can make scalloped edges like Asian potstickers if you want, I just left mine plain cause it's less work. Boil in salted water for 3 or 4 minutes, or until desired consistency. Then STUFF YOUR FACE! And try not to burn your tongue, or injure/maim others when fighting for the last one.

Oh, and I just thought of something after reading the creton link... I should have cooked the meat mixture with cloves, I think it would have been delicious. Oh well, next time.

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