Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cozy Dumpling Soup

Our neighborhood park across the street from our house

There's a lot you give up when moving from the city to the country, although most would argue that Brentwood California is NOT the country even though it is completely surrounded by farmland, lush green hills, and a mountain!  (Ok and like 50 chains stores, restaurants, golf courses, gated residential communities galore...) There's no more Sephora, only it's frumpier, much older cousin Ulta. There's no more super swanky Nordstrom or unique boutiques, only the bright flourescent lights and obnoxious pre-teeny bopper music coming from Old Navy who carries the exact same style of cardigans that it's been selling since the store first opened in 1994. Don't worry, I still love you Old Lady oooops I mean Old Navy, sometimes I find really cute things there for a great price! :) The point is, that if you're looking for the creme de la creme of well anything besides actual trees, nature and such you will most likely find it in the city. Especially those 5 star restaurants, YUM. Or even the 4 star ones, I'll settle for one of those too. Like PF Chang's... Ohhhhh so yummy! The other night I was craving some PF Chang's but from where I am right now that would require a 40 minute drive through bay area rush hour traffic, an outfit that was NOT my VS Pink mama sweats, a flatiron to my hair and a second income. So I decided that I would stay in our beautiful house wearing my comfy sweats while cooing at my adorable blonde child and create this magical dumpling soup while stopping occasionally to admire the stunning view of Mt. Diablo from my kitchen window while the scent of fresh cut grass wafted into my house. Suburbia at it's best!

Cozy Dumpling Soup
adapted to enhance the yumminess from the December 2010 issue of The Food Network Magazine

4-6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup of thick sliced ham or pork diced or sliced (I didn't have ham so I slow-cooked some pork in beef broth, lots of ginger and soy sauce)
2 tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Fresh, grated ginger to taste
Sliced ginger if you REALLY love it like myself
4 3-inch strips orange zest
Kosher salt, (or sea salt because I'm not Jewish) and freshly ground pepper
2 scallions sliced, white and green parts separated
2 medium carrots thinly sliced
2-3 collard greens leaves thinly sliced
24 frozen Trader Joe's chicken or vegetable dumplings or pot stickers

1. Combine the broth, ham, sherry, soy sauce, ginger, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the scallion whites and carrots. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until carrots are crisp-tender about 4 minutes.
2. Add the collard greens, dumplings and scallion greens. Cover and cook until dumplings are soft and heated through, 4-5 minutes. Divide the dumplings and soup among bowls and feast away!

My husband always requests rice with any asian dish but he's not the one trying to work off his mama-gut I always say! But, if you have self-control, (which I do not when it comes to food) and a husband who thinks he's half-Asian, by all means make the rice. But use brown because we all know that, "The whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead!" -Michael Pollan author of Food Rules and a designated repository for the nation's food conscience.


  1. Ha, I would totally classify Brentwood as cliche suburb. :) (and nothing wrong with that, there are days when I totally long to live in a cliche suburb! A chain store, with a parking lot! with actual parking spaces!) And what a wonderful park!

    Anyways, this looks delicious, and something I will make this week. Is there a way to make it vegetarian? Do you think if you just eliminated the ham/pork would it still have enough flavor?

  2. Sara-
    Yes, just use vegetable dumplings and maybe add some kind of tofu for extra protein. Anything goes!