Beef and Mustard Green Dumplings

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In my mind, winter in Japan means a few things. One of them is nabe - hot pot - the other one is making dumplings. Making dumplings is a simple but slightly time-consuming task. It's best to make dumplings on a cold day when you don't particularly want to go outside anyways. Invite a friend over, or turn on a movie, and get to constructing. The filling is various - usually a blend of meat (pork is a favorite) and vegetables (cabbage is a favorite). These dumplings are neither. Yet, they are just as good.

I recently went on a "grocery market fieldtrip" as part of my involvement in the Washington Heights and Inwood Food Council. I went and checked out a new super market uptown, and much to my amazement they had a large bag of mustard greens for sale. Normally, I don't find mustard greens unless I am at an Asian market. It was a sign.

I made a salad out of them at first, but the bag was so big I knew that I couldn't use them all up fresh before they went bad. Then, I remembered the potsicker shells I had in the freezer that I had been meaning to use. Same thing for the beef. Thus, this recipe was born.

Mustard greens are rather bitter, which makes a nice contrast against the savory beef that can sometimes be rather heavy. Instead, thanks to the healthy inclusion of greens these dumplings are light and healthy! 

Beef and Mustard Green Dumplings

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 16 oz. container of mustard greens
2 green onions, minced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cooking sake or mirin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg white
2 packages potsticker/gyoza wrappers

Dipping Sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili sesame oil or regular sesame oil

Instructions:

1. The night before (ideally) boil the mustard greens until wilted. Drain thoroughly, then in a collander with a bowl beneath sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt (not listed in ingredients) ontop of the greens and toss. Wait 10-15 minutes, then squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the greens. You should have a handful of cooked and squeezes greens when all is done. In a small bowl, toss the greens with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, cover with wrap and set in the refriderator overnight.

2. The next day, or several hours later, combine the greens, beef, green onions, garlic, pepper, soy sauce, chili oil, corn starch, egg white, mirin and ginger (everything except the wrappers) into a large bowl. Use your hands to mix to combine. Allow the mixture to rest while you set up your potsticker station.

3. Set out a few plates or a large cookie tin. Fill a glass full of water. To assemble the dumplings, place wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the beef mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal.

4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potstickers in a single layer and cook until golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.

5. If you desire, you can make a nice dipping sauce out of chili oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.