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Chinese Dumplings and Wonton Soup

I love everything Asian; I love the languages, the culture, but most of all I love Asian food.  This includes, but is not limited to food from China, Thailand, India, Indonesia…the list could go on and on.  In my quest to consistently improve my culinary skills, I often make my favorite Asian take-out meals at home.  Which brings me to this past weekend…I made one of my Chinese take-out favorites: Wonton Soup.  It looks (and sounds) fancy, but is surprisingly very easy.  Everyone can come together to make the wontons, and more importantly everyone will want to come together to eat them!

This recipe makes a lot of dumplings (ground pork packages at our grocery store are each 1.5lbs), but the way I see it, you can freeze the leftovers and eat them all month long.  Who doesn’t love fabulous tasting leftovers!  This recipe also has a lot of steps, but don’t be overwhelmed, I assure the process is very easy.

Note: This recipe was inspired by a recipe at Epicurious, however I didn’t quite like theirs, so I made some tweaks to produce something that is all my own.

Finished Wonton Soup

Finished Wonton Soup

Completed wontons, my husband and I each had our own style =)

Completed wontons, my husband and I each had our own style =)

Finished soup just before serving

Finished soup just before serving

Pan-fried wontons, dumplings round two!

Pan-fried wontons, dumplings round two!

Chinese Dumplings and Wonton Soup

For the Soup:

2 pieces bone-in chicken, preferably chicken thigh (can be uncooked, or un-fried cooked leftovers)
2 pieces bone-in pork, ribs or pork chop
4 coarsely chopped scallions (also one chopped scallion for soup garnish)
1 (2-inch) peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
6 cups water
2 bunches baby bok choy
salt
pepper

For the Wontons:

1.5 lbs ground pork
1 large egg yolk
6 finely chopped green onions
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1/2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1.5 tsp sesame oil
1 c finely chopped boy choy
1/4 tsp pepper
50 wonton wrappers

Pan Frying Wontons:

2 tbsp olive oil

Making the Broth for the Wonton Soup:

1. Place chicken, pork, scallions, ginger and water in large stock pot.  Bring to boil on high heat, the turn heat to medium-low; broth should be still simmering.
2. Simmer for approximatly 4-5 hours; meat should be very tender and falling off the bone.  Pour broth through a strainer, into a large bowl and discard the solids.  Cool the broth, then cover and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.  Broth can be chilled overnight.

Making the Wontons:

1. In a large bowl combine pork, egg yolk, green onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, bok choy and pepper.  Using your hand, combine the ingredients.  Do not overwork or filling will be tough.
2. Prepare a small bowl of water for sealing the dumplings.  Set aside.  Place wonton wrapper on work surface, and using your finger brush water along all four edges of the wonton wrapper.
3. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of the meat mixture on the center of wrapper, fold the wrapper in half so the edges meet (like folding a sheet), and press the edges closed (like closing a ziploc bag).  Fold the wonton in half again, and softly fold the wonton in half lengthwise.  If you are having trouble, see my picture aove.
4. Place each folded wonton on an ungreased baking sheet.  Do not stack the wontons or pack them too tightly; you do not want them to stick together.
5. Once the baking sheet is full (or you have run out of wonton wrappers), place baking sheet flat in the freezer.  Continue wrapping wontons until you run out of meat filling.
6. After 30 min remove wontons from freezer and use for wonton soup, or move to freezer-safe Ziploc bags.

Putting the Soup Together (Finally!):

1. Remove the chilled broth, and skim off any fat from the surface of the broth.
2. Bring broth to a simmer on medium heat in large pot.  Stir bok choy into broth, add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer, uncovered for approximately 3-4 minutes (or until bok choy is tender).
3. Add frozen wontons  to broth, and continue to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, slightly stirring. Wontons should be floating on the surface, and no longer appear bright pink through the wrapper, instead they should appear slightly brown.  (Before serving, open a wonton to ensure they are fully cooked through)
4. Ladle broth into bowls with wontons.  Garnish with spring onions, and serve!

Pan Frying the Remaining Wontons:

1. Place 8 wontons in shallow pan with 2 tbsp olive oil.  Pan fry uncovered for approximately 3 minutes, until they are browned on the bottom.  Add four tbsp water to pan, cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes, until dumplings are crispy and cooked through.
2. Serve! Yum!

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