My obession for from-scratch cooking is sometimes my greatest obstacle. When I’m sick, prepared soups, even those from the little Italian shop near my house just won’t do. Aside from whatever vitamins, minerals and rest my body craves, I think it has also conditioned itself to need homecooking as much as it requires oxygen to survive.
Luckily, when I got hit with the never-ending cold three weeks ago, Jen had just posted her recipe for wonton soup. She doesn’t know it, but she loosened the chains a bit for me. In her post, she said she uses premade wonton wrappers (not to be confused with potstickers). Since we’re likeminded in the how, why and where regarding our food, I decided to take her cue.
So, on my last day of feeling relatively human and mucus-free, I went to the market and got the fixings for my own Chinese feast. Jen has great recipes for both shrimp and pork fillings. I was in a veggie mood that day, perhaps because it was Monday, I don’t know. I decided my menu would be vegetable wonton soup, fried wontons, an orange sesame stir-fry entree and steamed white rice.
Before I steer you down a path of cooking bliss, I should confess the filling does take some time to prep. One of my weird quirks, though, is that I love chopping. I consider it one of the most meditative activities. You could let your food processor do all the work, but chopping is cheaper than therapy, right?
These freeze remarkably well too. In fact, there’s a few dozen in a ziptop bag in my house. If you’re all out of homeamde chicken broth, then try this recipe for 60-minute chicken stock. When I’m really sick and out of the homemade stuff, I’ve been known to use Swanson’s Organic broth, but hey that’s our secret, right?
2 cups (4.25 ounces) finely minced cabbage
1 bunch scallions (3 ounces), green parts only, minced
1 medium carrot (2.65 ounces), peeled and finely minced
3 large white button mushrooms (3 ounces), finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
70 wonton wrappers
Bowl of water, for sealing the wrappers
Canola Oil for frying, if serving as an appetizer
Chicken stock, fresh baby spinach and chopped scallions, if serving as a soup
Combine the cabbage, scallions, carrot, mushrooms, ginger and garlic in a deep bowl. Toss to mix, and season with salt and pepper.
Place a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper (I found a demitasse spoon to work best). Wipe each outer edge of the wrapper with a dab of water. Fold the wrapper over to form a triangle. Fold the 2 outer points together so that one tucks under the other. Set on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
If freezing, store tray in freezer for 10 minutes, or until the wontons are firm and set. Transfer to a ziptop bag, and use within one month (if they last that long).
To make wonton soup
, simmer as many wontons as you like in chicken stock, without overcrowding the pot. Let them cook until they bob to the surface. Add a few spinach leaves to a deep bowl and ladle the hot soup on top (the spinach will wilt perfectly this way). Sprinkle with chopped scallions, and sdd a splash of hot sauce if you’re really trying to kill whatever is ailing you.
To make fried wontons
, heat enough oil in a skillet so the wontons will be mostly submerged (I filled my skillet with about 2 inches). Once the oil is shimmering, add a few wontons at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan or they will steam instead of frying. Cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side until crisp and golden all over. We ate these as is, but visit Jen’s site Use Real Butter for some homemade dipping sauces.