Veal Cheek and Foie Gras Dumplings with Shaved Local Vegetables, Florida Rock Shrimp, Dr. Pepper and Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce and Peanut Nuoc Cham
Chefs Julia Ning and Nicole Votano
2 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking the shrimp
1 lb. cleaned rock shrimp
3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3 Tbsp. chopped lemongrass (tender center part)
16-24 dumplings, either frozen or freshly made from Julia’s recipe (see recipe below)
4 cups shaved vegetables (see recipe below)
For the nuoc cham
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1tsp. fish sauce (Nicole strongly recommends Ugly Baby brand but if you can’t find that, look for Red Boat brand)
3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ tsp. Thai chili, chopped
½ cup peanuts, chopped
For the dipping sauce
One12-ounce can of Dr. Pepper, reduced over medium heat to ¼ cup
2 Tbsp. Chinese black vinegar
½ tsp. sambal oelek red pepper paste
¼ tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. chopped scallion (light green and green part)
If you are very ambitious, feel free to make your own dumplings, or you can use frozen dumplings with the filling of your choice. To make Julia’s recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients (makes 50 dumplings; they can be frozen):
4 lbs. veal cheek
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 oz. garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
½ oz. fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
8 oz. dry red wine
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
8 oz. pineapple juice
8 oz. foie gras butter (see recipe below)
½ cup finely chopped scallions
50 gyoza wrappers or wonton skins
Foie gras butter (Yield: 8 ounces)
4 oz. foie gras cubes (available from dartagnan.com) at room temperature
4 oz. good quality European-style butter, softened
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. finely ground pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Make the foie gras butter
- Leave foie gras cubes on a plate at room temperature until softened.
- Mash with a pastry bender or fork then remove any veins, blemishes or stringy tissue. Place mashed foie gras onto plastic wrap then roll into a tight log, about ½ inch in diameter. Secure the ends. Refrigerate until firm.
- Prepare an ice water bath, set aside. Bring saucepan of salted water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to bare simmer. Drop in foie gras. Poach until the foie gras is soft and the fat is beginning to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and place in prepared ice water bath to cool.
- Remove plastic wrap and place foie gras in bowl of food processor. Add butter, salt, pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary, about 1 minute. Transfer to container and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for several months.
Make the dumpling filling
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- In a casserole or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sear the veal cheeks on both sides and set aside.
- In the pan you used for searing the veal, sauté the onion, carrot and celery (add a bit of olive oil if there isn’t enough remaining) and when it is slightly colored, then add the chopped ginger and garlic and allow to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with the red wine.
- Add the pineapple juice and soy, stir well and return the veal to the pan. Add more wine and pineapple juice if needed to cover the veal.
- Cover the Dutch oven and place in the oven to braise until very tender, about 3½-4 hours.
- Remove from the oven and allow the veal to rest in the liquid until cool.
- Let the foie gras butter come to room temperature and soften.
- Remove the veal from the braising liquid and pull it apart so it appears shredded.
- In a bowl, fold the veal and foie gras butter together and fold in the finely chopped scallions.
Whew! Now you are ready to fill your dumplings.
Following instructions on the package, put a scoop (about 1 ounce) of the filling in a gyoza wrapper and seal. Freeze the gyoza for a few hours to make them easier to handle (and you can leave any you don’t use this time in the freezer until later).
Make your dipping sauce
In a bowl, combine the Dr. Pepper reduction, the black vinegar, sambal, sesame oil and scallion and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Prepare your vegetables
Pick the freshest local vegetables you can find, choose organic vegetables wherever possible. Here is a sampling of things to use:
8 oz. heirloom carrots, peeled and tops cut short and cleaned
½ bunch breakfast radish
1 spring onion, julienned lengthwise, 1.5 inch long, very thin
8 oz. asparagus, white tough ends removed, whole length of asparagus
½ fennel bulb
Shred the vegetables lengthwise and very thinly – try to get nice, long strips of vegetable. Put them in a bowl and set aside until you’ve cooked the dumplings.
Make the nuoc cham (the peanut dressing for your vegetables)
Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili and whisk to combine.
Cook the dumplings
- Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, and add one tablespoon oil.
- Put in as many of your frozen dumplings as fit comfortably in a single layer (you may need to do this in two batches if you are using 24 instead of 16 dumplings).
- Let the dumplings cook in the oil undisturbed for a minute or two, just until the wrapper begins to color on the bottom.
- Add ¼ cup water to the pan (careful, it will splatter a bit) and cover tightly so the dumplings steam for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the lid and let the remaining water steam off and remove from the heat.
Plate your dish
Toss the dressing with the peanuts and shredded vegetables in the bowl, and put a generous mound in the center of each serving plate (using larger plates looks better). Place two or three dumplings around the mound of vegetables and drizzle with the dipping sauce. Enjoy the delicious benefit of your hard work!