Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pork Wonton Soup

I posted photos of my wonton soup on Facebook, and my mom subsequently asked me to post the recipe. While I am certain of the measurements for the wontons, I tend to make broth as a "dash of this, sprinkle of that" and therefore can't vouch for the accuracy of the measurements of the soup ingredients. The nice thing about soup, though, is that you can always keep adjusting until you decide you like it.

The ingredients for the wontons yielded 54 little bundles of goodness. The entire process, from mixing to finished wontons, takes me about an hour. The lovely thing about wontons is that you can freeze what you don't eat right away. When you are ready for more soup, just take them right out of the freezer and toss them into simmering broth. How's that for instant soup?

Pork Wontons

The Filling:
16 ounces ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
The whites of 3 green onions, thinly sliced (reserve the greens for your soup)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients for the filling (in order given) in a small mixing bowl. Try to ensure that it's evenly mixed.

The Assembly:
12 ounce package of 3.5" square wonton wrappers
Small bowl of cold water (used to seal the wontons)
A plate to do your work
A teaspoon (round measuring spoon preferred)
Cookie sheet or other type of large tray
Wax paper
All-purpose flour
1 gallon Ziploc Freezer Bag (if you plan on freezing your wontons)

Time to setup your assembly line. I prefer to use a plate to do my work, so I put the package of wonton wrappers on the left side of the plate, and my bowl of filling behind the plate with the bowl of water to the right of it (because I'll dip my right fingers into the water). Put the cookie sheet to the right of the plate, at the end of the assembly line, and cover it with a sheet of wax paper (which is critical to keeping the wontons from sticking to the tray and each other).

Place a wonton wrapper on your plate (make sure you have only one - those suckers like to stick together in the package). Put a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. with your fingers, wet the outer edges of the wrapper. Fold over the wonton to form a triangle. Press to seal, trying to get as much air as possible out of the wonton as you seal it. Put a little more water on the 2 corners at the bottom of the rectangle, and fold them towards the center of the wonton so that the tips just overlap. Place your finished wonton on your wax-paper-covered cookie sheet, and move on to the next one.

If you fill up your tray, just put another piece of wax paper on top of your wontons and put a layer on top of them. You don't need to worry about squishing them.

Freezing Your Wontons
If you plan on freezing your wontons, you should do so before they are cooked. I recommend that you sprinkle a little bit of flour on them, to help keep them from sticking together when you put them in the bag. What I like to do is cut sheets of wax paper the same size as my Ziplog bag. I put one inside, add a layer of finished wontons, put another sheet of wax paper on top, add another layer of wontons, and so on. When full, I put the bag onto the cookie sheet (which helps maintain the layers inside the bag) and put the tray into the freezer. Wait a day, and then remove the tray from the freezer and put your bag of frozen wontons wherever you want to keep them in the freezer. As long as they stay frozen, they should stay separate.

April's Wonton Soup

I have to admit I created this soup from 50% inspiration and 50% laziness. Yes, cans and packages were involved, and I use spices from my rack because I think the dry, ground spices integrate into the broth faster. This will yield 2 large bowls of soup--enough for a meal for me and my hubby. If you are cooking for one (like I did the first time I made this), Pacific Foods makes little 8-ounce containers of their chicken broth that work beautifully for this, without leaving you with a partial can/box of leftover broth. If you are making this for 1 person, though, I recommend you use the low-sodium version of the chicken broth and 1 packet of the instant tofu miso soup. Otherwise, halve the quantities of the other ingredients.

2 cups Pacific Free Range Chicken Broth
1 1/3 cups of water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (rice cooking wine)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground garlic
16 uncooked wontons
4 baby portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
A handful of baby spinach, stems removed
1 single-serving packet Kikkoman Instant Tofu Miso Soup (they sell the soup as 3 individual serving packets together in a package - you only need 1 packet from the package)
Thinly sliced green onion for garnish (you can use the greens that you reserved from the filling for this)

In a medium sauce pan, combine your chicken broth, water, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add your wontons and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon (add another minute or so if you put them in frozen). After you put your wontons in and the water starts to boil again, I recommend you turn the heat down to keep it at a low boil. You don't want your lovely little wontons to be abused.

Add the mushrooms and spinach, and cook for another 2 minutes. When done, your wontons should be soft and the wrappers around the filling should look a little like, well, a brain (for lack of a better description). They will be all wrinkled around the filling, and still hold their integrity. The small amount of filling in them cooks fast in the boiling water, so there is no need to be concerned about under-cooked pork.

At the end, add your packets of instant tofu miso soup and gently stir it into the soup. The instant soup re-hydrates without the need to continue boiling it.

Divide your soup into 2 bowls and sprinkle the sliced green onion on top. Enjoy!