Potstickers Gone Wild: Venison-filled Dumplings

Got venison?

It’s hunting season in many parts of the U.S. now and if you’re lucky enough to have a freezer filling up with venison, you may be in search of something different to make with ground venison other than chili, burgers and spaghetti sauce. Earlier this year we put an Asian twist on some ground venison by making pan-fried dumplings similar to Japanese gyoza, Chinese potstickers or Korean mandoo! Whatever you choose to call them, these dumplings come together very quickly with purchased wrappers and can be enjoyed either pan-fried with a spicy pepper dipping sauce or boiled in a hearty wonton-style soup. When pan-fried, they can be enjoyed at room temperature and make an intriguing appetizer for a buffet table or potluck. And because they freeze well, they are perfect to make ahead and keep on hand for quick weekday meals or unexpected company. One pound of ground venison will make 4-5 dozen dumplings so this is also a great way to stretch a relatively small amount of meat to feed a crowd, or to round out 2-3 meals with rice and a bowl of miso soup or other light broth.

The heartier flavor of venison can stand up to stronger Asian flavors like ginger and Korean hot sauce calledkochujang. In this case we use the ginger in the filling and kochujang in the dipping sauce. The recipe below is basically the same as that for the Watercress Dumplings except that the greens are eliminated completely (gather ‘round, Carnivores!), and the seasonings were adjusted for the flavor of venison. Directions for Wrapping and Cooking the dumplings are going to be the same as for the watercress variety.

VENISON DUMPLINGS with SPICY PEPPER SAUCE
50+ dumplings, plus extra filling

Filling:
1lb (455g) ground venison
½ medium onion, minced
4 slices (coin-size) of fresh ginger, minced (about 2 tsp.)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. mirin
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
generous seasoning with sea salt

Combine meat and all seasonings, and massage well to incorporate. Set aside in fridge for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours, to allow flavors to combine well.

To Finish:
1 package round gyoza wrappers, about 10 oz/ 280g (50-60 sheets)
small bowl of water

Directions for Wrapping and Cooking the dumplings are the same as for the watercress variety here.

Kochujang Dipping Sauce:
3 rounded TBL. kochujang, Korean red pepper sauce (about 60g/2 oz.)
2 tsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 TBL. rice wine or white wine vinegar

Combine kochujang and sugar, and stir well to dissolve sugar. Stir in sesame oil, then add vinegar. Taste and correct with sugar or vinegar. Sauce should be slightly sweet and tangy.

Serve with bowls of hot rice, kim chee and a nice light lager or dry hard cider to wash it all down.
Our every day quaffing beer is Yuengling Traditional Lager from Pennsylvania’s Yuengling Brewery, which bills itself as the oldest brewery in the U.S. — it’s a light-bodied brew that is an excellent palate-cleanser. We found Woodchuck’s Limited Release Fall Cider had too many overtones of clove and other fall spices to drink alone or even with most foods, but these spices actually worked well with the prominent venison flavor and the hot pepper sauce.
********************************************************************
More with Venison: Venison Bolognese, and coming soon Venison Roast with Prunes and Olives