Monday, September 19, 2016

Gluten-free Pork and Beef Pelmini dumplings

Boucher Farm Beef and Pork Dumplings

Confession: homemade gluten-free pasta keeps me from feeling totally dumpling deprived.

In contrast to the GF bread recipes I’ve tried - which, I firmly believe were created from sadness, disappointment, and angel tears - because that’s what I taste when I eat a sandwich.

Let me introduce you to pelmini, the Russian version of tortellini.

The filling is basic and meaty, made more interesting by including wild mushrooms.

I tested the dough recipe three ways: one batch made using two cups of buckwheat flour, another with millet, and the commercial blend with no additional flours. 

Pure GF Pillsbury won for being easiest to roll out.

I preferred the flavor of the millet dumplings, though they required a more gentle hand.  The buckwheat dumplings were a bit too tough at the given proportions.

Additional Notes:

All bummers can be mended with egg wash and a scrap of dough over the tear; and the binders are necessary in case the dumpling blows up during cooking – the filling will remain inside, instead of spilling out into the broth.

If you don’t walk the woods to forage, try seeking out Cranberry Bob Lesnikowski’s booth at the Burlington Farmer’s Market. * 

* Summer Market runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays from Mother’s Day to Halloween in City Hall Park and on St. Paul Street, which is closed to vehicles while in use.  Cranberry Bob is next to the “Hamburger Guy”, Tyler Webb.  Follow your nose! His booth makes me hungry!

Dumplings in Broth
Gluten-free Pelmini (Russian-style tortellini)
Adapted from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook (Hank Shaw)
Makes 25-50, depending on size

Dumpling Filling

1 Cup Sautéed Mushrooms (I used Hen of The Woods)
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Pork
1 Cup Grated Onion
2 Eggs
¼ Cup Minced Garlic
2 tsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
1 TB Black Flake Pepper
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum or ¼ Cup Bread Crumbs*

Mix until cohesive. Cook a sample and adjust seasoning.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Boucher Farm Pork and Beef Pelmini Dumpling Progress

MAKE IT EASY: If you can tolerate gluten, use wonton wrappers instead of making fresh pasta dough.

GF Pelmini made with Boucher Farm Meat

Gluten-free Pasta Dough 

2 Cups Pillsbury Gluten-free Flour, plus additional for rolling out.
2 Cups Millet Flour
2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk
5 Eggs
1 Egg Yolk (reserve the white for sealing dumplings)

Mix dry ingredients together. Create a well in the center and add wet ingredients. Mix with a fork, drawing in flour from the sides until dough forms.

Knead a few times until smooth.  You may have to add more buttermilk or flour.

Wrap in plastic and leave on the counter for 40 minutes, then refrigerate for an hour.  Well-chilled dough is easier to roll out.

Dumpling Directions

Divide dough into 8 pieces.  Work with one piece at a time and keep the remainder covered.

Flour surface and roll out dough to the thickness of corrugated cardboard, dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Cut circles 3-inches in diameter. *

Place 1-2 tsp. of filling in the center.

Paint edges with egg white, and form a half moon by folding the dough over. (Triangle shape if using wonton wrappers).

Paint one edge of the dumpling with whites and draw both points toward the center of the opposite side (see photo).

Pinch ends together and set on a lightly floured sheet pan.

Continue with remaining dough.

These may be covered and refrigerated for several hours, or frozen on the pan and transferred to a plastic bag for storage.

*Dough scraps do not re-roll well. Cut into ribbons for raggedy pasta.
Raggedy GF Pasta
Tip: excess filling can be made into meatballs.

Cooking Instructions

Gently simmer enough water or stock to cover, add the number of dumplings desired (frozen is okay). This is a slow method because tender gluten-free handmade pasta tends to break at high boil.

When they float, let them cook for two minutes more, turning if necessary. The dough color lightens when done.

Remove to a serving dish and keep warm.

Drizzle with a reduction of the cooking stock and/or melted butter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Roasted Jalapeno Salsa, (Quick and Easy)

Boucher Farm Strip Steak with Jalapeño Salsa
My husband Dan used to be a serious meat-and-potatoes man.  He’d happily eat them every day, alternating frozen peas and canned corn niblets to shake things up.

Over the years, I’ve tried to vary the routine with raw and cooked fresh veggies, forages - things we’ve never even thought of eating (like pigeon). 

But, I can’t change his cravings.

This salsa came about as the accompaniment for yet another grilled strip steak.

It was spicy and garlicky, with a lingering floral finish from Caledonia Spirits’ honey.  A perfect pairing for beef.

It won’t win any beauty contests, but all the ingredients are simply tossed into a blender and whammo – done!

I love that!

I wanted to serve them as a salad, so I refrigerated both.

The steak disappeared.

I grilled another, leaving Alice in Wonderland style instructions: Do Not Eat This!

He suggested I could simply cook another…but we’d still be playing that game if I had bought in.
Roasted Jalapeños

Roasted Jalapeno Salsa
Makes  1 ½ to 2 Cups

1 Large Sweet Onion
8 Cloves of Garlic
3 Grilled Jalapenos; skin, seeds, stem removed
2 TB Rice Wine Vinegar
1 TB Raw Honey (I used Caledonia Spirits’)
¼ tsp. Salt

Whiz all ingredients in a blender.  Adjust salt to taste.

Let stand 40 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
The steak that disappeared.

Can also be used as the base for curries.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Grilled Pigeon Breast

Grilled Pigeon, Doe's Leap Trappist goat cheese, Adam's raspberries, Digger's Mirth greens

A few days ago, I remembered a story told to me by Sarah Flack, a vendor at Burlington Farmer’s Market some 16 years ago.

She extoled the eating of pigeons, which I didn’t appreciate at the time, since I was coming off a vegan phase and had only just started eating meat again.

I was reminded of that little chat when my husband Dan came home with a clear plastic bag full of meaty redness.

I thought it was squirrel. 

Because, I had asked for squirrel.

What was it? 
 Pigeon Breasts
“Pigeon breasts”, he said, “…and, I don’t guarantee they’re free of birdshot”.

I covered them in “Cheetah (cheater) Marinade” - sour cream and Italian dressing, overnight – then, roasted till medium rare.

The meat was red like duck, with a similar texture.

I sliced and served them in a salad of fresh raspberries (Adam’s Berry Farm), baby greens from Digger’s Mirth, and shaved Trappist goat cheese from Doe’s Leap Farm.  All complemented the extremely rich flavor of pigeon.  No dressing was necessary.

The best part of this recipe is that the cooking stage can be done a day or two ahead.

The difficult bit is sourcing farm-country pigeon, but duck breast is a fine substitute.

Sarah Flack was so right all those years ago!

Pigeon IS delicious.

Tip: If using duck breast, remove the skin before marinating and slice into ribbons.  Render over very low heat in ½ cup of water until there are crispy cracklings; drain on paper towels, salt and enjoy.  Strain the fat, refrigerate and save for another use. 
Wild Pigeon Salad

Grilled Pigeon Breast
Serves 6-8

12 Pigeon Breasts (boneless, skinless)


¼ Cup Cabot Sour Cream
¼ Cup Drew’s Classic Italian Dressing (soy/wheat-free)
¼ Cup Grapeseed Oil


Skewer breasts and place upside-down in a tall water glass (or two).

Pour marinade over the meat and gently agitate to coat.

Refrigerate 24-48 hours.

Let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes.

Grill over medium heat, turning as necessary until plump and 140 f. for medium-rare.

Let rest covered with foil and a heavy towel for at least 10 minutes. 

You may refrigerate, or slice thin and serve immediately.