Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Autumnal Recipes: Pumpkin and Pork Pot Stickers

I’m at WindyCon in Chicago, but there’s not much to say about that just yet, so instead I’ll post my favorite recipe from the past month or so, very appropriate for the season. (I’m on five panels, so I expect I’ll post about some or all of them later.)

Now, listen, if you’re not a big fan of pumpkin pie, but nevertheless you enjoy seasonal dishes, you might consider trying some version of this recipe, which as I say, I liked a lot. I changed the original recipe quite a bit, definitely thought the result was wonderful, and will certainly make it again, possibly moving a little closer to the original recipe.

Here is the original recipe. I don’t remember where I got it.

Squash and Pork Wontons

Spice blend:

2 Tbsp dried shrimp
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp whole cloves
2 star anise (I used one)
2 black cardamom pods (I used three)
1 1/2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, broken

Toast all the spice blend ingredients in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Poor onto plate to cool. Once cool, grind in a spice grinder or (if you are feeling energetic) in a mortar and pestle. This makes about three times the amount you need for the remaining recipe. Store the remaining spice blend in the fridge.

Wontons:

1 1/2 lb cubed butternut squash (from 2 lb squash)
2 Tbsp oil
12 oz ground pork
3 Tbsp minced ginger
3 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 scallions, minced
1 egg white, beaten
48 wonton wrappers

Toss the cubed squash with the oil and 1 Tbsp spice blend and roast at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Mash. Add pork, ginger, wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, and egg white. Place two tsp filling in center of each wonton wrapper, moisten the edges of the wrapper, and fold corner-to-corner into a triangle. Press to seal edges. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook dumplings for 3 minutes. Serve with black vinegar (I assume this means chinkiang black vinegar) as a dipping sauce.

I’m sure the above recipe would work fine, but I find dumplings a little too uncertain. Pot stickers are a lot easier because it just doesn’t matter whether the edges are sealed well enough. Also, I didn’t have a butternut squash sitting around. So I made a slightly different version, like so:

Pumpkin and Pork Pot Stickers:

Spice blend as above

1 14-oz can pumpkin
14 oz or so pork tenderloin, in small dice
3 Tbsp minced ginger
3 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
4 Tbsp soy sauce (five just seemed like a lot)
1 tsp sesame oil
3 scallions, minced

Wonton wrappers … a 12 oz pkg contains 48 wrappers, which turned out to be exactly the right number. If you aren’t in the habit of looking for these in the supermarket, they’re usually in the produce section.

I left out the egg white partly because I didn’t have anything to do with an egg yolk, but mostly because I wanted the filling cooked because it was going to be held for days as I made a few pot stickers at a time. So I made it this way: Heat a little oil and saute pork until cooked through. Add the remaining ingredients. Place as much as looked manageable on each wonton wrapper, remembering that you don’t have to be obsessive about sealing the edges because pot stickers are not immersed in liquid to cook. Moisten the edges, draw up the corners, and more or less seal the edges to form triangular dumplings. (It occurs to me that a kid who’s into cooking would probably enjoy making these. The dogs only help with devouring the result.)

Now, heat a little oil in skillet. Add the pot stickers in a single layer, cover the skillet, and cook for five minutes. Pour in 1/2 C of water, cover the skillet again, and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover the skillet and move each dumpling a little to make sure it’s not sticking; cook for three more minutes. You probably know that you don’t turn pot stickers over. They’re supposed to be crispy on the bottom, but cooked by steaming on the top. Anyway, pile ’em on a platter and serve.

pot-stickers

I thought these were great, but I may try the recipe again with butternut squash. It will still be a very Autumnal kind of recipe either way.

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