French Onion Soup Dumplings


INGREDIENTS

For the Filling:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, preferably aged
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Croutons:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • Twelve ¾-inch cubes of artisan bread
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dumplings:

  • 36 square wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For Assembly:

METHOD:

1. Make the filling: At least 6 hours before making the dumplings, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and onion and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until they are deep golden brown and very tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.

2. Add the wine to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook, stirring often, until the wine has evaporated to a glaze, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the beef and chicken broths and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid has evaporated by half, about 10 minutes, so the consistency is thick and mainly onion. Stir in the thyme and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.

3. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Pour the filling into the pan and loosely cover the top with plastic wrap. Freeze until the filling is solid, at least 4 hours.

4. Meanwhile, make the croutons: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°. In a medium bowl, toss all of the crouton ingredients to coat the bread thoroughly. Spread the mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the croutons are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

5. Make the dumplings: Invert and unmold the frozen soup mixture onto a cutting board. Using a knife, cut the mixture lengthwise into 4 equal, long strips. Then cut across the strips into 9 sections, to make 36 cubes total. Keep the cubes frozen until ready to wrap.

6. Working with about 9 wonton wrappers at a time, place the wrappers on a clean work surface. Lightly brush the edges of the wrappers with the beaten egg. Place one cube in the center of a wrapper. Bring up the edges and tightly pinch them closed to create a small packet, resembling a purse. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cubes and wrappers. Cover tightly and freeze for at least 2 hours.

7. In a deep large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Place a rack over a large rimmed baking sheet to drain the fried dumplings.

8. Remove 12 dumplings from the freezer, reserving the remaining dumplings for another use. In batches, without crowding, carefully fry the dumplings in the oil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wire spider or slotted spoon, carefully transfer them to the wire rack to drain. The dumplings can stand at room temperature for up to 30 minutes before broiling.

9. Assemble the dish: Position the broiler rack about 8 inches from the heat source and preheat on high. Lightly butter 2 escargot dishes or a large oval baking dish.

10. Place each dumpling in its own little well, letting the tops of the dumplings fall over to one side, so they don’t get too close to the heat and burn. Cover each dish with 1 cup of the shredded Gruyère. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, spear each crouton onto a skewer.

11. Insert a crouton-speared skewer into the top of each dumpling, being sure not to poke the bottom of the wrapper, or the dumpling will leak. Devour immediately.

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