Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wonton Soup With Veggies

Back where I grew up there was a Chinese restaurant down the road that served the best wonton soup. If you ordered a large bowl of it for a meal, it had a ton of veggies in it and was divine. This is my take on that soup.

1/2 # ground pork
1 pkg wonton wrappers
1 small bu. green onions, sliced, green and white parts separated
1 can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and halved
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 head of pak or bok choi, washed and chopped - freeze white harder parts for stir fry another time, and save the soft dark green tips for this soup
1 can bean sprouts, drained(I like 2 cans, but we're crazy about sprouts so that's just me)
1 can bamboo shoots, rinsed and chopped
1 can baby corn, rinsed
1/4 # fresh or small package of frozen snow peas, trimmed and cleaned if necessary
2-14.5 oz cartons of chicken stock
1 T miren or sherry
2 T soy sauce
1 t fresh grated ginger root
1 T oyster sauce
1/8 t sesame oil
salt and pepper

In bowl, combine white parts of scallions, ginger, oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper, a pinch of salt, rice wine/sherry, and mix well. Add ground pork and blend, careful not to overwork the meat. Place some wax or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp tea towel. Fill a small glass with water for sealing the wontons. Use another damp tea towel to cover the wonton wrappers once package is opened so they do not dry out, which causes them to tear more easily. Put approximately a teaspoon-2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each wonton, and dipping your finger in the water, moisten the edges. Fold diagonally, pressing closed and pushing any air out from the center of the wontons. Then moisten the two opposing corners and bring them together on the other side of the enclosure. Place under tea towel on cookie sheet, repeating the process until all of the filling is gone. Leaving covered, place wontons in the fridge to chill for approximately 30 minutes to help solidify the sealing so they will be less likely to open during cooking.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, bring the veggies and chicken stock to a boil, then reduce, cover, and allow to simmer. In a smaller pot, bring water to a boil to cook the wontons. They are not cooked in the main soup pot as they give off quite a bit of starch that makes the soup very cloudy, so they will be par-boiled.
After 30 min of chilling, add the wontons in batches to the boiling water, cooking approximately 6-8 minutes until tender. Add to soup and cook another 10-15 minutes or until well cooked through. Serve garnished with green parts of green onions.

Rec: This soup is especially good when any left over wontons wrappers are sliced into strips, pan fried and used as an additional garnish.

Notes: Excellent when paired with Sprout, Cabbage, and Shrimp Eggrolls

If you are cooking for less than a crowd, then freeze half of your prepared wontons, cut back on the veggies and halve the stock so there's less prep the next time you decide to make this soup.

I recommend keeping the par-boiled wontons separate from the soup if you have reason to believe that you will not be eating it all and there will be leftovers. Add a serving of the wontons to the soup each time you heat it up. If you store the soup with the wontons in the fridge overnight, the wontons will become over-saturated and mushy.

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