Italian Beef Dumplings

Italian Beef Dumplings

By Luke Gelman

I debuted this recipe at the Manbque: Eat Street book release party and all of the reactions were pretty much the same … “HOLY FUCK, I LOVE YOU, TAKE MY WIFE.”

Maybe I’m exaggerating. But only slightly.

To answer your first question, this recipe came to me in a daydream about dumplings and crushing Carruthers again in Mario Kart. Editor’s note: UNTRUE. 

When this dumpling works its magic, people will look at you like you’re some kind of culinary warlock. But in reality, its a pretty easy recipe so long as you have the balls (or ladyballs) to try.

You’ll need a couple of special kitchen toys, but nothing insane or expensive. Some bamboo steamers, foil muffin cups, cheese cloth, and butcher’s twine – if you don’t already have them. It’ll be worth it.

Trust me, it’s not as daunting as it looks. Lets do this!

The Setup

2 cups tap water (plus 2/3 cup ice water)
2 tablespoons beef bullion base
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning (mine consisted of basil/oregano/marjoram/thyme/rosemary/fennel)
2 0.25 oz packets of gelatin (.50 oz total)
1 lb Italian-spiced roast beef, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 cup giardiniera, drained of excess oil
The Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus an extra half cup for flouring your prep surface)
1 cup boiling water

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1. To start, we’re basically going to make beef Jello. Always room for Beef Jello. Make a cheesecloth pouch (a sachet if you prefer, Fancy Man), add the Italian seasoning, and tie off with some butcher’s strong.

2. Add the bullion base to the 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Cut the heat and let it steep for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, add your gelatin to the ice water and stir. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes.

4. Add the gelatin mix into the beef mix gradually. Make sure to whisk gently, much like an Englishman seductively stirring his tea. Once it’s all dissolved, pour your beautiful Beef Jello mix into a glass baking dish and put it in the fridge for at least 5 hours – overnight is probably best, but use your best Beef Jello judgment.

5. Dough time! I used a food processor, but you could also theoretically mix this by hand. Add 2 cups of flour to the bowl of your food processor. Add boiling water bit by bit (carefully!) as you pulse the food processor. Keep going until the dough forms.

6. When it’s rolling around like a big ball of… dough, I guess … stop the food processor and check it out. Remove the top and touch the dough, you want it to be sticky, but not slimy. If it’s too slimy or soft, add flour. If it’s too dry, add water a little bit at a time. It should be soft a moist, but not stick to your hands.

7. Remove the dough from the food processor and put into a bowl with a damp towel over the top. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

8. While your dough is chillin’, drain the excess oil from a cup of giardiniera over the sink in a fine mesh strainer.

9. Separate your dough into four equal-sized pieces and knead into 1 x 8-10″ tubes.

10. Pinch off 1″ x 1″ section pieces of dough and roll them into balls. Shoot for something slightly smaller than golf balls, and definitely bigger than marbles. You should get about 8 pieces per section – 32 in total.

11. Flour your work surface and then press your dough ball onto it. Flour a rolling pin and begin to roll the dough, rotating it after each press of the rolling pin. You don’t want the pin to travel more than about 1/3 to 1/2 way across the dough because you want the center to be a little thicker than the edges. You want the edges to be pretty thin. It will look like a really cute 3.5″ or 4″ mini disk when you are done. ADORABLE.

12. Place about 1 tablespoon of roast beef in the center of your dough, then add 1 teaspoon of your Beef Jello and one piece of giardiniera. Pleat the edges of the wrapper repeatedly, pinching the edge closed after each pleat until the entire dumpling is sealed in a cinched purse shape. Pinch and twist the top to seal it.

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12. Move the sealed dumplings to a lightly floured wooden or parchment-lined board. My favorite method is placing them in jumbo aluminum cup cake cups sprayed with a little non-stick cooking oil. Makes them easy to move around and serve.

13. Break out your steamer (I like a bamboo steamer but I used a regular kitchen steamer with a pot and both worked exactly the same). Bring your steamer to a full blown boiling water situation and place your dumplings in the steamer for 8-10 minutes. The will firm up and look a little translucent.

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14. Take the dumplings out and let sit for 5-10 minutes. You want to eat them hot, but the liquid inside is raging hot and you could in theory burn you if you aren’t careful. I mean, it’s basically a soup dumpling. So waiting a bit is a good thing.

Hope you liked it! If you have questions hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and I will answer most any question. No I will not answer any questions about how I crushed Carruthers in Mario Kart, he is a pretty princess and I respect him too much to gloat.

Editor’s Note: I play as Yoshi, Gelman. Me and that big dumb dinosaur are coming for you.