Crispy Wontons

Crispy Wontons

Crispy Wontons

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Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.

I’m a PIG! At least that what my friend and co-worker Yanan tells me, and who knows the Chinese zodiac better than a person born and raised in China? It’s a lucky sign/animal Yanan tells me, but being called a pig certainly doesn’t have the best ring to it. However, I must confess I have been known to be a little piggish when it comes to food LOL! Today’s Crispy Wontons are inspired by Yanan and the upcoming Chinese New Year on February 12th.

Wontons wrapped three ways on a wooden cutting board demonstrating pork wontons for the Crispy Wontons recipe.

Yanan can make the best pork dumplings and steamed buns and has been my inspiration and guidance for this post. She is always willing to teach, lend a helping hand, and has a huge heart. I can say with some honesty that my wonton making has improved with her recommendations and practice from making this post. However, it will be some time, if ever, that I can proclaim to be a pro at Chinese cooking. I will at least say it is fun to practice!

Yanan and her family immigrated from China to Quebec, Canada in 1999. They had to learn French in a French-speaking province, find employment and make their way through endless challenges in a new country. Yanan was a teacher in China and already knew technical English, but learning Americanized English was a thing of its own. The slang, profanity and innuendoes still took some learning. The tones in the Chinese language are very prevalent when she is speaking English today. They provide a level of entertainment because her tone can change with each word, leaving you to wonder if she is being passionate, angry, or simply excited about something.

Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.

From Quebec, Yanan and her family moved across the country to the province of Alberta. She found employment with the Correctional Service of Canada and eventually became a co-worker of mine. She is a joy to me, and I consider myself lucky to call her a friend. Happy New Year Yanan!

Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Crispy Wontons piled high in a brown bowl resting on a red napkin with a dark background.
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Crispy Wontons

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 52 wontons

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese wine or sherry
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers
  • as needed canola oil

Instructions

  • Line a large baking tray with parchment and fill a small bowl with cold water.
  • In a medium bowl add all ingredients except wrappers and canola oil. Mix gently until well combined.
  • Lay 8-10 wrappers on a flat surface. Place approximately 2 teaspoons of pork filling in the center of each wrapper. Moisten the outer edge of the wrapper with water using your fingertip. Fold the wrapper in half diagonally, pressing lightly on the edges to create a good seal. Dab both lower corners with water and bring both lower corners across and together pressing lightly to hold. It will look like a bishops hat. Place prepared wonton on the baking tray and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Keep the wrappers and prepared wontons covered with a clean damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
  • Attach a candy/high-temperature thermometer to the side of a large pot at least 9" in diameter. Add enough canola oil to come up a minimum of 3 inches. Heat oil to 350°F.
  • Carefully drop wontons into the hot oil, about 8-10 at a time depending on the size of your pot. Cook for 2 minutes per side until golden. Remove with a mesh/slotted scoop to a paper towel-lined tray. Repeat with remaining wontons, adjusting temperature as you go to maintain the 350°F.
  • Serve immediately with plum sauce, sweet chili sauce or a soy dipping sauce.

Notes

-Wontons can be shaped in a variety of different ways.  I like to use the simple folded triangle method which resembles a bishop's hat, however, any shape will work. Three varieties are shown in the post.
-Alternatively, you can use an electric deep fryer set at 350°F to cook the wontons.

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

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Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza baked hot and bubbly and garnished with fennel fronds.

I say start the new year with pizza! Yes, that’s right, crispy, cheesy, flavour-packed Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza. We can not make just any pizza, it truly needs to be a cast-iron pizza to start the new year right. It creates the best golden and crisp underside that you’ll ever create at home, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making all your pizzas this way. Most new year resolutions include some form of healthy eating, but I think the new year (because it’s gonna be great) deserves full-on, carefree, in your face deliciousness. The sausage and fennel combination has not only become my new favourite, cooking it in a cast-iron pan tips it over the edge of my pizza nirvana. So move over plain ol’ pepperoni pizza… grown-up pizza just walked in.

A cast iron skillet full of of ingredients for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.
Pizza dough, marinara sauce and fennel ready for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.

With the new year upon us, we have no choice but to be hopeful for a more user-friendly year. Even though I can consider 2020 a good year, it hasn’t been without its frustrations, and for many people, it has been a year of hardship and heartache. While we can’t eat cheesy, sausage laden pizza all the time, it’s a good reminder to enjoy a few of the simpler things that we can. It’s also great fun to create homemade pizza at home with loved ones lending a helping hand.

All the best in 2021, let’s eat!

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Affiliate Disclosure

I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.
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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Course Main Course
Keyword baked, cast iron, cast iron pizza, fennel, garlic, Italian sausage, mozzerella, olive oil, pizza, pizza dough
Cook Time 14 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage about 2 links, casing removed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced plus fronds for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set oven rack to its uppermost position. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Drizzle room temperature pizza dough with 1 tbsp olive oil and press out to a 10" round. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 10" cast-iron skillet. Add Italian sausage and cook over medium, breaking up any large pieces. Once cooked and slightly crisp remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • With the heat still on medium/low, immediately lay pizza dough in the pan, stretching out to the edges using a spatula or spoon if necessary. Top dough with marinara, then mozzarella, fennel, garlic and sausage. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and check the underside which should be starting to brown and crisp. Transfer pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds or fresh basil. Lift out of the pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

-The dough will press out better on a wooden surface such as a cutting board as opposed to granite or super-smooth surfaces.
-I prefer a thinner crust and opt for 8 ounces of dough vs 10.  It is 10 ounces pictured in the blog.
-Makes one 10" pizza, however, a 12" cast-iron skillet would work too, just use the 10 ounces of dough.  There's plenty of topping, so there's no need to adjust unless you'd like more cheese.
-The original recipe from Bon Appétit suggests garnishing with fresh basil, however, I enjoy using fresh fennel fronds instead, but it's a matter of preference and both are delicious. 

Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw

Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw

I love, love, love crunchy food! For me, the crunchier and saltier the better.  I’m the gal who’ll choose a bag of Doritos over a piece of cake. This may be why I love these amazing Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw.  The traditional three stage breading using Panko or coarse homemade bread crumbs, makes the crispiest little chicken cutlets that are so perfect with creamy crunchy slaw.  And this slaw has a nice, but not too hot, nasal clearing heat from the wasabi.  It’s a fantastic combination.

Yes, you heard me right, there’s wasabi in the slaw, and it’s my new favourite coleslaw.  Creamy, crisp and cool with just enough wasabi to create a warming bite and provide a definite sense that you’re not in coleslaw Kansas anymore.  It’s not “reach for water hot” by any means, but if serving this coleslaw on the side, I’d warn the kids and grandparents…just saying!  With its creamy and tangy dressing, the coleslaw is absolutely perfect with the crispy chicken cutlets.  I like to really pile it on for the ultimate little slider.  Don’t forget this amazing slaw is also great with pulled pork or as a side to BBQ’d meats. But don’t take my word for it, go on and give it a try.  You’ll love these wonderful, easy to put together Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw.  Enjoy!

Recipe source for Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw:  Compelled To Cook

Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8 sliders 55-60 minutes
    Cook Time
    10-12 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    8 sliders 55-60 minutes
    Cook Time
    10-12 minutes
    Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 sliders 55-60 minutes
      Cook Time
      10-12 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      8 sliders 55-60 minutes
      Cook Time
      10-12 minutes
      Ingredients
      Wasabi Slaw
      Chicken Cutlets
      Servings: sliders
      Instructions
      Wasabi Slaw
      1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, wasabi, salt and pepper. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use.
      2. When ready to assemble sliders, toss cabbage, green onion and grated carrot with dressing.
      Chicken Cutlets
      1. Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally and then cut each half into half again, getting 4 pieces (each being about 1.5 ounces) out of each breast. Place the chicken pieces between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and pound with a rolling pin or flat side of a mallet to 1/4" thick.
      2. Using 3 shallow bowls, to the first, add the flour, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. To the second, add eggs and water and whisk to combine. To the third, add the bread crumbs.
      3. Add several chicken pieces to the flour bowl and flip around to coat. Shake off excess and add pieces to egg bowl. Using a fork, flip to coat with egg and place in bread crumbs, turning each piece and patting gently to adhere crumbs. Place breaded portions onto a clean plate or wire rack and repeat breading procedure until all pieces are done.
      4. Add enough canola oil to a large skillet to just start to cover the bottom. Heat over medium high until hot. Add breaded chicken to pan, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side until golden. Remove from pan to a paper towel lined tray to dab off any excess grease and then to a clean plate. Keep warm in a low 225℉ oven while remaining cutlets are fried. Wipe out pan with a paper towel to remove excess crumbs that may start to burn prior to frying more cutlets.
      5. Slice slider buns in half and brush lightly with butter. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and place slider buns buttered side down in pan and heat over medium until starting to brown and become warm. About 2 minutes.
      6. To each slider bun, add a chicken cutlet and top with a generous amount of wasabi slaw. Secure each slider with a long toothpick if desired and serve immediately.