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Prop Stylist: Amy Lauhoff O’Brien; Food Stylist: Lisa Benitez Kuehl; Photo Assistant: Nicole Stege

Urban Belly's lamb and brandy dumplings recipe

These tiny pouches of ground lamb burst with flavor.


Some fierce knife skills are in order to power through chopping the bevy of aromatics that give chef Bill Kim’s lamb-stuffed pouches their fragrance.

Makes about 20 dumplings.

¾ lb ground leg of lamb
¼ cup Chinese black beans, soaked for 20 minutes in brandy, liquid drained and discarded
2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tsp garlic chile sauce
1½ tsp fish sauce
5 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp Thai basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
½ pack of square wonton wrappers (Hong Kong–style)
½ lb fresh or frozen soybeans (edamame)

Black bean vinaigrette
2 tbsp onions, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1½ tbsp ginger, minced
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, minced
¼ cup Chinese black beans, soaked for 20 minutes in warm water, drained (liquid discarded), minced
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil

Soy balsamic sauce
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup sugar

1. Mix all dumpling ingredients together except edamame and wrappers. Chill until ready to fill dumplings.
2. Prepare vinaigrette. Sweat the onions, garlic and ginger in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over low heat. Let cool. Mix the cooled onions, garlic and ginger with all the other vinaigrette ingredients. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 45 minutes.
3. Prepare sauce. Combine soy sauce and balsamic in saucepan and reduce by a quarter over medium-high heat, about five minutes. Stir in sugar, let cool.
4. Lay one wrapper on work surface. Dollop one tablespoon of meat mixture horizontally across the middle of the wrapper. Brush a small amount of water on the top half of the wrapper and edges. Take the bottom of the wrapper and roll it over the top of the meat. Keep rolling until the dumpling is sealed by the other damp end. Pinch each end of the dumpling to seal.
5. Fill a medium-size pot three-fourths of the way with water and bring to a boil. Working in batches, gently drop in dumplings, allow water to come back to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure dumplings do not stick to each other, until they float to the top, about three minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.
6. Prepare edamame. Blanch them in boiling, salted water for about seven minutes, then remove with a strainer and place in an ice bath until fully chilled. Once cooled, mix one-half cup edamame with one tablespoon of the vinaigrette and one tablespoon of the soy-balsamic sauce for each serving.
7. Plate the dish. Spread edamame on the plate, then place dumplings on top. Drizzle soy-balsamic sauce and a little vinaigrette over each dumpling.

Chinese black beans are also known as “preserved,” “salted” or “fermented” black beans. Find them at Wing Lee Co. (2246 S Wentworth Ave, 312-842-3376).
• Get Thai basil at Golden Pacific (5353 N Broadway, 773-334-6688).
• Find this sweet rice wine at Chicago Food Corp. (3333 N Kimball Ave, 773-478-5566).
• Watch the dumplings closely, making sure not to overcook. If boiled for too long, the wrappers will begin to look bloated, become watery and then fall apart.


AT Urban Belly $8 for four
AT HOME $4.54 for four

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