Snow report

Good morning friends! I am currently sitting in the airport on the way home for Christmas…lots of lovely snow coming down here in Toronto! So excited to be back in a place where snowmen and Christmas carols about how cold it is outside make sense.

Coincidentally, I was here a few weeks ago, on my way back from the UK. I had a ton of work to do once I got back in Orlando, exams and papers and grading oh my; what did I do as soon as I got home? I made wonton soup.
Homemade wonton soup

It actually could not be easier. I made the broth and let it simmer while I got the dumplings together; at the same time I made a stir-fry for lunch the next day. Let me explain.

1. I used pork ribs to make the broth. I added in carrots, celery, garlic, a little bit of chili and ginger, green onion, a bay leaf, and water, and let it all simmer while I got on with the rest. I did have to skim the broth some during cooking, but only if you see sort of that frothy scum that floats to the surface (so pleasant-sounding, no?).

2. I made the stir-fry next. I decided to make one basically because I had bought all these ingredients for the broth but wouldn’t have used them up. I’m a big fan of using everything in one go, usually because I will forget what’s in the fridge and will let unused veg linger, slowly growing a nice blanket of mold. I’m also a big fan of cooking ahead: this way I get many meals in one! Win. Anyway, I basically used all the same things, carrots, celery, some snow peas, bell pepper, green onions, more ginger and garlic. I also used one of those noodle packets and added them at the end (no, I did not make my own noodles. I am not that cool). After everything had cooked to my liking (aka still pretty crunchy) I added some sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and some bokchoy. And the noodles. At the end of the broth-making time, I took the ribs out, shredded the meat, and added that to the stir-fry as well. Perfect lunch times await!

3. The dumplings: here we go. I used ground chicken, and again added minced ginger/garlic, green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar (do you see a pattern here yet?). I got ready-made wonton skins from the grocery store – if I can get them at Publix, you can definitely get them at your grocery store (no offence, Publix).
You have to use much less filling for each wonton than you think – maybe like half a teaspoon or a full teaspoon, if you’re really skilled at folding the buggers. I just put the filling in the middle and folded the corners up to make a triangle (sealing with a little water on the edges). See Figure 1 :). The wontons can be frozen, uncooked: lay out in ONE LAYER in a baking sheet (you will notice from the capitals that I in fact did not freeze in one layer and had a devil of a time separating the wontons after they were frozen. Do not do that. One layer, folks!). After they are frozen (a day or so) you can just pop them all in a ziploc and cook them as needed.

Homemade chicken wontons

Figure 1: The wontons in a state of undress!

4. Soup time! At the moment of readiness, I strained all of the vegetables out of the broth, and put in fresh ones (new carrots and celery and bokchoy). I also added soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. While the veg were cooking, I added in a few wontons once the broth was at a rolling boil. Wait until the wontons float to the surface – that’s how you know they are cooked! Also their skin gets a little wrinkly.

I made enough broth to last a few days; I just would reheat however much I wanted on the stove, add in some wontons, and Bob’s your uncle (he’s certainly not my uncle…).

Hope you’re all gettin’ some Christmas cheer (also known as mulled wine)! Stay delicious folks ;)

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