Here is a little appetizer I made recently that was a big hit.  Braised beef cheeks, stuffed in a dumpling, and topped with its braising liquid as a sauce.  The twist to this recipe was the black soy beans that were cooked with the beef cheeks.   A typical ingredient in chinese cooking is fermented black beans, which easily can be used but I used the non-fermented dried ones for this recipe.  I really like this recipe because of the soybeans.  They really add another nuance and depth of flavor.  I also served these for my last pop up dinner.  Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Buy wonton skins or make your own

Beef Dumplings
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of water
1/4 tsp of salt

2 1/2 lbs of beef cheeks cleaned of fat and sinew
1 finger of ginger
1 onion
1 jalapeno
8 garlic cloves
2 tops of leeks
2 carrots
1 bunch of green onion
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of mushroom soy
1 cup of soy sauce
1 tbsp of sambal
1/2 cup of dried black soybeans
6 cups of chicken stock or water
3 tbsp of sesame oil

Ponzu see recipe
green onion sesame seeds to garnish

Chive oil
2 large bunches of chives blanched
2 cups of vegetable oil
pinch of salt

For the Beef Cheeks,

In a large braising pot add oil, season beef cheeks lightly with salt and add to the pot.  Sear each side for 5 minutes.  Then add all the vegetables and aromatics and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then add orange juice, soy sauces, sambal, chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cover.  Cook for 2 hours or until the meat falls apart.  Let the meat cool for at least 45 minutes in the braising liquid.  Then take the meat out and place in a bowl and shred.  Take the braising liquid including all of the vegetables and place in vitamix.  Puree until smooth.  Pour some of the sauce into the shredded meat so it is moist, just enough to coat.  Season with salt if need be.  If you want a little more spice to the meat filling feel free to add a little sriracha or chili. Cool to room temperature for filling.  Keep the sauce warm.

For the dumpling dough,

In a bowl add flour and salt.  make a little well and add water into the well stirring with a fork or chopped sticks until it forms a rough dough.  Dust your hands and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth.  Let the dough rest for at least an hour.  You can knead the dough for another 3-5 minutes and then let it rest again for another 45 minutes.  Then divide the dough into quarters and roll each quarter into a tight rope.  Slice the rope every quarter inch and dust each slice with flour.  Then roll out each skin to 1/8-1/16 thick and fill with the meat filling.  Brush the outer skin with eggwash and fold over.  Then pinch the ends together to finish the dumplings.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper dusted with corn starch. 

Chive oil,

Blanch the chives in salted boiling water for 10 seconds. Then place in an ice bath. Allow to cool and then drain well.   Squeeze the chives of any excess water and place in a vitamix with oil. Puree for 30-45 seconds and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Allow the oil to drip through, do not push the pulp through the strainer, this will keep the oil clear.  

To finish,

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Place the dumplings in the water and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they float to the top of the water.  Strain out and drizzle lightly with ponzu.  Then place a spoonful of sauce down in the plate.  Add the dumplings to the plate and drizzle the outside with chive oil.  Add the green onions and sesame, serve and enjoy!