District Seven, situated in the northwestern corner of Panem, is known for its dark and dense forests. Below the trees there is little light that filters through, and the ground is damp and warm in the summer months. This is perfect condition for a staple of the diets of Seven to grow – wild mushrooms.
Easily foraged in the woods, mushrooms are a hearty substitute for meat, something almost impossible to come by in this remote district. Animals within the district boundaries were long ago hunted to extinction, and save for the occasional illegally poached bird, savoury items are hard to come by and fiercely sought after.
This is a simple recipe despite its many steps – and easily made with a combination of foraged goods and those from tesserae. The pairing of the mushrooms and the dough of the dumplings’ casings serve to fill empty stomachs. The recipe can be doubled or quadrupled, and dumplings can be frozen before they are cooked to help residents through the long Seven winters.
By August 10, 2013Published:
- Yield: 20
- Prep: 1 hr 30 mins
District Seven, situated in the northwestern corner of Panem, is known for its dark and dense forests. Below the trees there is …
- 1 cup flour
- A variety of mushrooms Use whatever you like best
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- Steep the dried mushrooms in the water for half an hour, then set the water to boil. While this is going on, combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the boiling water and mix gently with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Form it into a ball, and cover with a damp cloth. Let it sit for an hour.
- In the meantime, clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth. They only need to be wiped off gently. Lay them out to dry - this is important! Mushrooms are similar to sponges in that they absorb liquids and will become mushy. Allow mushrooms to dry thoroughly if you choose to wipe them off (though only do this with those that are truly filthy … a little dirt has never hurt a resident of Seven.)
- When the dough has sat for an hour, remove it from the bowl. Knead it a few times on a lightly floured surface - just enough to smooth it out. Roll the dough into a long cylinder about ¾” in diameter, and slice into twenty equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball (this makes shaping the wrappers much easier) and, one by one, roll them out until they are about as thin as a piece of paper. Flour each side lightly as they are finished and stack them. The flour will keep them from sticking together. Once they are finished, wrap the casings and put them aside in the fridge.
- Dice the mushrooms. The stems do not need to be removed, though if they are particularly tough, they are best discarded. Make eighth of an inch slices through each cap, then dice them finely. Do the same with the two cloves of garlic.
- Heat a pan with a bit of oil and butter in it - just enough to coat the bottom. Two parts butter to one part oil is best for optimum flavour. While the pan is heating, add the garlic and give it a bit of a stir.
- Add the mushrooms when the butter has ceased to foam and your pan is quite hot. Working in batches, fry the mushrooms: it is important not to overcrowd them as they release steam and will become soggy. Try to keep them relatively spaced apart. They will cook down greatly. It may take two or three goes to finish cooking them, re-oiling/buttering the pan as necessary, but that is fine - set them aside in a bowl.
- Bring out the dough. Working one at a time, place a tablespoon or so of cooked mushrooms in the centre of the dough. Wet one edge and fold it together, pressing the seam. Pinch the edges in finger-width intervals. This keeps the seal from opening while cooking. Repeat until all dumplings have been created.
- To cook the dumplings, they can either be fried in a pan until they are brown on each side, boiled, added to soups, or steamed for a few minutes - they cook quickly, so be careful not to let them get too soft if you choose to boil or steam them.
- To store them, place them on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet and freeze them until they are solid, whereupon they can be transferred to a plastic bag or other airtight container for long-term storage.