Ever gone apple-picking on a 90-degree day? Last weekend probably had the last of such summery temperatures until next June. But instead of lounging on the beach, I was at the apple orchard helping to pick about 30 pounds of crisp, earlyish-in-the-season apples. Signs of fall weren't completely missing: on the drive up the Hudson from New York, I spotted abut one in 30 trees with a vibrant red or orange hue.
The cool weather on the radar for this week (and my insatiable craving for appley desserts) is probably a good sign that it had been the perfect time to go apple-picking.
What does one end up doing with 30 pounds of apples? Apple bread, apple fritters, and apple cookies were all cranked out this weekend. In lieu of apple pie, we attempted apple pandowdy (which, I was reminded, is in the lyrics of an oldies hit.) For something savory, I decided to try apple dumplings.
Chicken, with a more subtle flavor than pork, seemed like a nice pairing for the apple. I added some chopped onions, ground ginger, and apple cider to the mix. They were like the chicken and apple sausages that you can find at grocery stores, except in dumpling form that you can dip into soy sauce. If you can't find pre-ground chicken, you can also try ground turkey, or (if you own a KitchenAid Mixer with a sausage attachment) make ground chicken with chicken breast meat.
For a refresher on wrapping dumplings, see my Dumpling Wrapping Photo Guide.
With 50 dumplings, I thought that most would end up frozen for a rainy day (as in, at least a week later.) By the following evening, more than half were gone.
Most of the apples, however, remain. About 25 pounds' worth. Anyone have other suggestions for dishes, savory or sweet?
Chicken and Apple Dumplings
- 1 pound ground chicken (or substitute ground turkey)
- 1 or 2 medium-sized apples (any variety), finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon apple juice or cider
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 package wonton wrappers (about 50 per package)
- Flour for dusting
- Mix together the chicken, apple, onion, apple juice/cider, ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Unwrap dumpling wrappers and keep them covered in plastic or under a damp towel. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and keep some extra flour within hand's reach.
- If you’re just starting out with dumpling folding, follow this step-by-step guide that shows a basic method with 3 pleats per dumpling. If you’d like to work your way up to 5 pleats, start in the middle and do 3 pleats towards the middle from one direction and and 2 pleats toward the middle from the other. (See these photos for reference.)
- To pan-fry, follow steps 6 and 7 in my Dumpling Wrapping Photo Guide. To boil the dumplings instead, bring a pot of water to boil. Add dumplings and simmer until they float to the top, about 3 minutes (this method of assuring doneness works if your dumplings have no air pockets; otherwise, they float to the top immediately.) Drain well.
- Transfer to serving plates, and serve with soy sauce.