Caitlin Mociun’s Star Dumpling Soup
Her fascination with shapes seeps into everything she makes.
When Caitlin’s not busy designing stunning (and unexpected) bracelets and teeny-tiny earrings, she’s probably in her kitchen, whipping up something tremendous for her friends. And she’s game for sharing one of her favorite concoctions with us: “This soup was born from a disappointing recipe I tried out—it had potential, but I was disappointed by the bulky cornmeal dumplings and thick chunks of sausage. To lighten it up, I came up with these delicate, star-shaped sausage dumplings,” she explains. “They just explode in the broth—tiny, delicious little nuggets. Taste is obviously paramount in cooking, but the way food looks and is presented is a huge part of the experience as well.” These dumplings so clearly echo her fondness for what she calls “primary shapes.” Don’t you think a gold version would look rad affixed to a ring? —mireille hyde
1 pack wonton wrappers
½ pound sausage meat
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon allspice
29 ounces canned diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
6 cups greens (mustard, collard, or a mix)
Salt and pepper to taste
Make your dumplings first—they take a while. Mix the spices with the sausage meat in a bowl. Beat the egg in another bowl. Cut each wanton wrapper into 4 pieces. You can make as many or as few of these as you want. (I maybe made 75 or 100 of them.) Just make sure to save about half the sausage mixture to put in the soup base, and go to town.
To make a dumpling, pick up your tiny square of wanton wrapper. Brush all four edges lightly with egg. Place a very small dot (about 1/8 teaspoon) of meat in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper so all the points meet in the center and the center of each side of the squares come together forming a tiny four-pointed star. Make sure to press all the edges together well. They get puffy and expand while cooking in the soup, but if you seal them well, they will stay intact while cooking and look more attractive when served. Set them on a plate to be added to the soup later.
To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Add the bay leaves and a couple pinches of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the leftover sausage meat and the chopped fresh thyme. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the tomatoes, hot sauce, allspice, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. While that gets going, wash the greens well. Remove their center stocks, slice them into ribbons, and add them to the simmering soup. After 5 minutes, the greens will have wilted a bit, and you can add your dumplings. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.