Friday, March 14, 2014

Pork & Leek Wontons

Happy Friday everyone! I must confess, I made these delicious wontons weeks ago, but haven't had a chance to share them with you since I've been so busy at work! I'm beginning to wish we could just fast forward to July, when I'll have taken (and if all goes well -  passed) my board exams. I dislike having major things hanging over my head. Oddly enough, this whole board prep experience reminds me of wedding planning. They're both big, important events in life and generally good things. Yet, in the last months leading up to our wedding, I was so sick of people asking me about it! It occupied so much of my time and thoughts that I didn't really feel like talking about it at length with anyone. It's the same with if the nagging feeling of I should be studying" weren't annoying enough! Two more months....

Anyway, let's talk about something more pleasant. I was inspired to make these wontons after stumbling across this pork and shrimp wonton recipe in the NYT. It was the dead of February, and of course very cold, and I wanted something warm and comforting. These wontons fit the bill entirely. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of shrimp, so I chose to keep my wontons purely pork - but if you love shrimp, you can certainly substitute half of the pork for shrimp as described in the NYT recipe. I made a few small modifications to the recipe, adding finely chopped leek. I also modified the directions slightly, cooking the wontons in water first, before adding them to the chicken broth. 

The fillings for these wontons is quite easy to put together, but you'll want to set aside some time to wrap them. I would recommend setting aside an afternoon with some friends & family to do this. Why? Because filling dumplings and wontons is inherently such a social activity. It's hard to imagine a better way to  spend a leisurely afternoon, wrapping wontons and chatting with your loved ones. I (unwisely) filled mine on my own and realized quickly that:

 1) 1 pound of pork goes a very long way when you can only fill each wrapper with 1 tsp of meat, and

 2) I really missed my family (husband was at work) the point where I teared up! 

Don't be intimidated if you've never wrapped wontons before. This was actually my first time, but with  this great guide from steamykitchen, I picked it up in a second! 

These wontons are delicious, simple, and a wonderful comfort food. Since it's still freezing here on the east coast (hello weather, it's March!), there's still time to enjoy these. 

Pork & Leek Wontons

adapted from the NYTimes


1 lb ground pork 

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp rice wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp grated ginger 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce 

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/2 cup finely chopped leek

36 wonton skins (you can get these at Asian grocery foods - or Whole Foods!)

1 small egg, beaten

8 oz baby spinach leaves

8 cups chicken broth

Sesame and hot chili oil (for drizzling)


1. Mix first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight) until ready to wrap wontons

2. Wrap wontons. A word of warning - the wonton skins will dry out very quickly, so be sure to leave a damp paper towel over them as you are working. Otherwise you'll end up with cracked wrappers - no good! 

3. Boil a pot of water; gently drop wontons in and cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked through (wontons will rise to the surface when cooked)

4. In the mean time, heat chicken broth and add spinach; cook until spinach is wilted

5. Portion broth and spinach into bowls. Remove cooked wontons from hot water with a slotted spoon. Add however many you like to each bowl of chicken broth

6. Drizzle each bowl with some chili oil and sesame oil, and you're done! 

I hope you won't find these intimidating - you'll love them if you give them a try. If you're on the east coast, I hope they'll keep you warm through this last winter chill too! 

Thanks for reading! 


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