Foodgoat recently picked up the practice of trying out a new dish - one he hasn't made before - each week. His first one was meatloaf, the second was the scallops
. Both turned out so well that for his most recent experiment, he went ambitious - making a dish he not had never made before, but one he had never tasted before.
The dish was manti - Turkish dumplings which are basically a variation of ravioli. At the moment he casually mentioned needing an idea for something new to cook, I happened to be reading an article, with a tasty looking photo, about manti.
So he did something I rarely, if ever, see him do: he followed the recipe.
Generally, if Foodgoat ever looks at a cookbook or recipe, it's only to get a general sense of the ingredient list or technique, then it's into the kitchen with just his intuition, and not a recipe, to guide him.
But in this case, since he had no idea what the end product was supposed to be like, he had to follow the detailed recipe.
Well, somewhat. He did change one of the main ingredients - instead of lamb, Foodgoat based the meat filling on pork instead. And he used his own recipe for the chicken broth that the manti is cooked in.
This dish was also ambitious in that, unlike the super-quick scallops, manti was one of those dishes that take days to make. You could do it all in one day, but it will be a long day. Instead, on the first day, he made the dumplings.
First, you put 2 eggs, 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup water in a medium bowl and mix until it forms a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, then divide into 4 balls, covering with a damp cloth, and letting them rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, you make the filling by combining 1/2 lb of ground pork, 1 chopped onion, 2 T of chopped fresh parsley, and some salt and pepper.
Then you take one of the dough balls, roll it out into a square about 11" x 11", and cut it into 1" squares.
Into each square, put a tiny bit of filling, and fold opposite corners together, exposing some of the filling.
Repeat with all the squares, and all the dough.
That's enough work for one day! At this point, Foodgoat put the dumplings in the fridge (you can also freeze them), until the next day.
The next night, Foodgoat preheated the oven to 400 degrees and put the dumplings into a big greased dish in a single layer. He baked them until golden, about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, he brought about 4 cups of chicken stock to boil. He then poured the hot broth over the dumplings, covered the dish with foil, and baked until most of the stock had been absorbed, abouut 25-30 minutes.
While the manti is baking, Foodgoat made the sauce - mixing 2 cups of plain yogurt with 3 garlic cloves crushed with salt, a handful of fresh chopped mink, and a tablespoon of chile flakes.
He then spooned the sauce, along with some melted butter, into bowls and top with the sauce.
The manti was a hearty, comforting kind of dish that was wonderful for the cold weather. The dumplings were warm and tasty and filling, and the sauce gave it spiciness and tanginess and some unexpected flavors. It was delicious - something I hope Foodgoat makes again!
GoatSpawn, in particular, loved this dish. We are used to having to coax a few more, just a few more!, spoonfuls of food in her, but not the manti. We had to refill her bowl twice, she ate so much.