Potato-Onion Kreplach, Pot Sticker Style

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield:

    4–6

    servings

Appears in

Without the potato, the Jewish Lithuanian household could not have existed. Mother was in her element with it. It was as if all her creative force bore down on that lowly tuber to transform it into one tempting magical form after another.

DON GUSSOW, CHAIA SONIA

Inspired by the unabashed charms of homey mashed potatoes, generations of Eastern European Jewish cooks recast them in infinite incarnations. They reappeared as chremslach (crispy fried balls) or mixed with golden onions as savory fillings for knishes, blintzes, and kreplach.

My kreplach, with a voluptuous stuffing of buttery potatoes and burnished onions, fall somewhere between boiled and fried—prepared, in other words, like Chinese pot sticker dumplings. They make a sensational appetizer, brunch treat, or dairy side dish.

Ingredients

  • About 1 pound potatoes (preferably russet or Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into large cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • Salt
  • ½ pound onions, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon mild olive, avocado, or vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus additional for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 wonton wrappers (; it’s a good idea to have some extra in case of tearing)
  • Flour for dusting

Accompaniments

Method

  1. Put the potatoes, garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium-large saucepan. Add 2 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, 15–20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving about ½ cup cooking liquid. Don’t wash out the saucepan.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, in a heavy 9- to 10-inch skillet, sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat, lifting and tossing them, until they are speckled gold and brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Mash the potatoes until smooth (unlike knishes, kreplach are too small for a few homey little lumps), using your favorite tool—a food mill, ricer, potato masher, or electric mixer (just don’t use a blender or food processor, which would make a gluey mess). Return the potatoes to the saucepan. With the heat on very low, beat in the fried onions and all of the cooking fat, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and the dill. Season well with lots of salt and pepper. If necessary, whisk in enough reserved potato water to make the mixture creamy and fluffy. Let cool, then refrigerate until cold.
  4. Have a small bowl of water at hand. Place a wonton wrapper on a lightly floured surface, leaving the remaining wonton wrappers covered with a damp dish towel. Mound 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and lightly moisten the surface of the wrapper all around the filling. Now bring up the sides of the wrapper, pleating the edges as necessary, so that they completely surround the filling. The finished krepl should resemble a little open sack made of pasta, encasing the potato stuffing. The stuffing should be visible close to or at the top of the sack. Continue making more kreplach, using the remaining filling and wrappers.
  5. Heat ¼ inch oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet until hot but not smoking. Add as many filled wonton sacks as will fit comfortably without crowding the pan. As you place each wonton in the skillet, lightly tamp down the bottom so that it sits flat. Cook over medium heat until the bottom surfaces of the wontons are crisp and golden, 4–5 minutes. Standing back to avoid being splattered, add cup water to the pan, cover tightly, and let the wontons steam until they are fully cooked, about 2 minutes more. The sides should be springy to the touch. Remove the lid, increase the heat, and cook for another minute, until the water evaporates and the wontons are crispy again on the bottom. Cook the remaining wontons in the same way.
  6. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped scallions and dill, and accompanied by sour cream or yogurt cream.

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