A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Using Cabbage to make Stuffed Wontons (with brown sauce)

Serving stuffed wontons offers a different and delicious supper.  It is a unique way to use cabbage and other summer produce, while stretching food dollars. 
This wonton recipe makes about 24 appetiser-size wontons.  The stuffing mixture makes enough for 2-3 wonton recipes.  The remaining stuffing mixture can be frozen for later use.  Or, add mushroom gravy for chow mein  or make into a casserole by adding cooked, sliced potatoes.

Note:  You may want to make the brown sauce ahead of time so it is ready and warm when the wontons are ready to serve. (recipe below)

Step 1:  Make wontons
Lightly beat 1 egg with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/3 cup water.  Put 2 cups of flour in bowl, make well in center and add egg mixture.  Stir together to form a dough, using more water as necessary so the dough is not too dry.  Gather the dough into a ball and knead 5 min.  Cover and let rest 30 min.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll thin; then cut into 4" squares.  OR use your pasta-rolling machine for this part.  They do not need to be perfect squares, just at least 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter all around.  Store the squares in plastic bag in fridge or freezer until ready to stuff so they don't dry out.

Step 2:  Prepare meat for filling
Use any season or smoked meat: sausage, bacon, ham...  Cook fully and dice or crumble cooked meat.  I make my own sausage as follows:  Mix 1/2# ground beef with 1# ground pork (ground turkey or other may be substituted for same total amount, but use at least 1/2# ground pork).  Add following seasoning:  2 TB rubbed sage, 2 tsp Italian Herb mix, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp fennel seed, pinch of ground clove or allspice.

Step 3:  Prepare vegetable mixture
1 med.small head cabbage (sliced thin and diced)
3 med carrots thinly sliced and diced
1 med onion diced fine
1 med stalk celery diced fine
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder** (I make my own, recipe below)
1 cup beef broth (or chix broth if using poultry)
1/4 cup soy sauce
-Generously oil bottom of huge fry pan.  Mix all but broth and soy sauce and put mixture in pan.  Cook over med. high heat until veggies beginning to soften.  Mix broth and soy sauce together and add to pan.  Reduce heat to med and cover.  Cook until vegetables soften.  Drain, saving pan juice for making sauce.
**Chinese Five Spice Powder: mix 2 TB each of  ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground fennel, ground star anise, ground Szechuan pepper flakes. (I use my coffee grinder for the star anise and pepper.)  Add 1 tsp grnd ginger.

Combine meat mixture with vegetable mixture and set aside to cool.  This can be refrigerated until ready to assemble wontons.

Step 4:  Assembly
(Note: If you are not making the wontons ahead of time, put salted water on to boil while you are assembling the wontons.)   
Place small amount of meat/veg mixture in center of wonton wrapper and fold up sides and pinch to make sealed bundle.  These may be stored in refrigerator under plastic wrap until just before cooking/serving.

Step 5: Cooking
Put pan of salted water on stove to boil.  Place wontons in boiling water and cook until they float to top (few minutes); or, if they are already floating when you put them in, cook for 2-3 minutes and turn them over to cook for 2-3 minutes more.  They should look like cooked pasta with the same consistency--el dente stage. Remove from pan with slotted spoon.  Serve immediately with ginger sauce.

Brown Sauce Recipe:
In sauce pan on stove--Use pan juices and add more beef broth to make 2 cups.  Add 2 TB soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar.  Bring to simmer.  Stir 3 TB cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water until dissolved.  Slowly add to simmering sauce.  Cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes or until thickened.  More soy sauce may be added if needed for flavor.  This can be turned into a cream sauce by omitting one TB of the cornstarch and adding sour cream to thicken the cooked sauce.  

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