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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Brussels Sprout & Leek Dumplings Recipe

Brussels Sprout & Leek Dumplings
Do you know the difference between dumplings and ravioli? The secret is the pasta, and it occurred to me when I was creating this recipe. To make ravioli you use pasta dough, which, while silky is still toothsome (al dente). Dumplings can use any kind of dough, including slick wonton skins, which are most definitely not toothsome. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule. I've had some very silky udon noodles lately that use soft, slippery noodles and I've had potstickers which definitely use thicker, chewier dough.

I used to make fresh pasta but I'm too lazy these days, instead I've been experimenting with using wonton wrappers. In the past I used the wrappers to make Afghani leek dumplings called aushak. This time I made dumplings in a similar way, but filled them with a combination of brussels sprouts, leeks, green onions, a bit of garlic and parmesan. Many kinds of ingredients or even leftovers can go in wonton wrappers to make delicious dumplings--meat, cheese, mashed roasted vegetables. Another one of my favorite ways is to fill wonton wrappers is with mashed potatoes. I boil the dumplings and then serve them with butter or sour cream for a quick comforting meal. I even make a simple samosa by mixing mashed potatoes with peas and spices then lightly oiling the dumplings and baking them.

If you haven't tried using wonton wrappers before, or have only used them for making wontons, my advice is, experiment! You can make a filling of your choice then make just one dumpling or two to test and see how you like it. If you make a big batch, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet then transfer to a ziplock bag and they'll keep in the freezer for months.

Brussels Sprout & Leek Dumplings42 dumplings


2 teaspoons oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups leeks, green and white parts, shredded
2 cups brussels sprouts, thinly shredded
2/3 cup, about 4 green onions, thinly shredded
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper
Wonton wrappers

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Parmesan cheese


Heat a large non-stick pan and add the oil and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the leeks, brussels sprouts and green onions. Cooking, stirring occasionally until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool slightly before mixing in the cheese, nutmeg and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

To make the dumplings, line up the wrappers, bowl of filling and a small bowl with water. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of a wonton wrapper then moisten the edges of the wonton wrapper with water. Fold the wonton wrapper in half diagonally, making sure the ends meet. Press down firmly on the edges to seal.

Meanwhile combine lemon juice and olive oil to drizzle on the finished dumplings. Boil the dumplings in boiling water for a couple of minutes, or until they float to the surface. Drain and serve with the olive oil and lemon juice and a sprinkling of additional cheese and toasted nuts. Note: I reserve a bit of the sauteed vegetables as a garnish as well so guests have a better idea of what is inside each dumpling.