First posted in 2016
Lamb Dumpling Soup
3 years ago, much to my co-chef’s chagrin, I entered the professional division of the Grand Lamb & Cabrito Cook-OFFF hosted by Dan Wilson of Sudan farms. This competition is a fun event during the Flock & Fiber festival held annually at the Canby Fairgrounds. Free samples draw a crowd. The event entices people to purchase lamb that is pastured in Oregon and promotes creative methods of serving lamb.
The first year we won the bronze medal and a $100 prize. We served roasted lamb rib on pureed eggplant and an olive-feta salad. Soon after I changed careers and instead of advising people on constructing tasty meals from local ingredients I now advise people on mortgage finance. I still enjoy cooking and shopping at the Portland Farmers Market for quality local produce and chatting with my favorite farmers. During one visit Dan reminded of the lamb competition and mentioned that I could qualify for the amateur division!
In my second competition, I fared even worse. I tied for 3rd place (there was a total of 4 contestants). It stung that I was overly confident in my apricot braised lamb necks served on a bed of coconut couscous and roasted fresh tomatoes from Dad’s garden. I was trounced by herb-crusted grilled lamb shoulder. That day I told myself I was going to stop cooking the Mediterranean cuisine I had went to school for and go back to my roots. What was the most memorable lamb dish I have tasted? I thought back to a lamb dumpling soup we ate at a late-night restaurant in Xi-an.
For my third competition, I served my version of that late-night soup. I finally wowed the judges and won the gold medal with this dish! If you haven’t made or tasted lamb broth before you are in for a treat. Especially if you use lamb necks from Dan at the PSU Portland Farmers market. Necks have plenty of collagen which gives a weight to the soup that soothes the palette. Neck meat is also folds in nicely to your dumpling mix after the necks have been roasted and simmered.
In the competition, points are awarded for ease of the recipe. The goal is to make lamb more accessible to the average consumer. If you want the long version that includes the recipe for making the dumpling wrapper from scratch and the vinegar reduction sauce shoot me an email!
Lamb Dumpling Soup
By Jordan Lee
3# Lamb Bones (neck bones preferred)
1# Lamb Shoulder or Ground Lamb
50ea Won Ton Wrappers (You can make your own very simply)
2 Cloves Garlic
1tsp Minced Ginger
½ Bunch Cilantro
1 bunch Scallions
5 Ea Dried Shittake Mushrooms
1 Ea Large Egg
½ Tsp Sesame Oil
TT Soy Sauce, Salt, Pepper
- Lamb Stock – (if desired simply substitute a packaged broth)
- Roast lamb bones at 450 degrees until browned
- Cover with cold water and add mushrooms and any other desired aromatics.
- Simmer 4-8 hours until meat is very tender, skim fat and impurities. Strain through fine mesh sieve. Debone and reserve meat.
- Dumpling Filling
- Cube lamb meat into 1/2” pieces.
- In a food processor combine: ginger, garlic, cilantro, white part of scallions, egg, sesame oil, simmered neck meat, and a few dashes of soy sauce. Pulse until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Consider testing a small batch to make sure it is properly seasoned.
- Wrap Dumplings
- Use your finger to apply water to two adjacent edges of wonton wrappers
- Add approximately one tablespoon of dumpling filling.
- Fold dry corner of wonton wrapper over making a triangle.
- Apply water to one of the outer tips and bring the outer tips together so its formed like a wonton or tortellini.
- Serve Dumpling Soup
- Cook dumplings in seasoned boiling water.
- Transfer into piping hot lamb broth and garnish with scallions.
- Often served with a dark vinegar, soy, and sesame oil combo or even chili sauce.