Like Italian ravioli, Chinese Potstickers are an excellent way to utilize leftover cooked meat. The first time we made potstickers, Chris followed Alton Brown’s recipe, and they were delicious. The second time we made them, I was looking for a way to use up some BBQ rib meat that was drying up in the fridge. The ribs had been excellent, but we had enough. They were well-seasoned with a typical tomato-based, slightly spicy sauce Chris had put together.
I deboned all the rib meat, threw it in the little food processor, and let it go. To that I added 1/2 pound fresh ground portk, some ginger, green onions, cabbage and carrots and ran that through the processor, also.
Then, Cayleigh and I set to work making all the potstickers. She had a blast forming them. After trying several pleating styles, she finally found one she liked. Hers came out pretty good!
Since she had put so much work into making them, you know she had to try them. And now, she’s hooked. (Now, I can take her to a sushi restaurant and she’s EXTREMELY HAPPY with her potstickers and edamame, while Mommy enjoys her sushi. It’s a win-win.)
My baby loves her some dumplings!
We’ve tried the potstickers with cabbage and carrots, and without. We actually prefer the taste of the cabbage and carrots in the potstickers instead of just meat. Plus, it gets some veggies in and stretches your meat dollar.
Today, I’m actually using some fresh Green Onion Sausage Chris made a few weeks ago. It’s an all-pork fresh sausage, and is pretty well seasoned with green onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
All I really need to add to my dumpling mixture is the cabbage and carrots, and maybe a little more salt (or ketchup and mustard a la Alton Brown) to season the extra veggies. A teaspoon of fresh minced ginger (or 2 or 3) I found a piece of ginger lingering in the bottom of the vegetable drawer, so, I added about a teaspoon minced to the mix. This will help redirect this Cajun sausage towards an Asian direction.
To make the potstickers filling, you will need:
1 pound ground pork, uncooked (or 1/2 pound leftover cooked rib meat, pulled pork, beef, or chicken and 1/2 pound ground pork)
2 green onions
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 package wonton wrappers (or dumpling wrappers, if you can find them)
In a small food processor, process the green onions, ginger, garlic, cabbage, and carrots. Process until minced, but not a paste. If you are using some leftover cooked meat, place the cooked meat in the processor and process it till minced. Transfer to bowl with vegetables. Add ground pork to the mixing bowl.
Sprinkle with salt, and add the egg. Alton Brown’s recipe is delicious, although unusual. His recipe calls for 1 teaspoon yellow mustard and 2 teaspoon ketchup to 1/2 pound of ground pork, along with the standard seasonings. Feel free to try adding this also (I did), or follow the more traditional recipe. They all come out excellent.
To cook the Potstickers, you will need a heavy skillet with a lid, some water or stock.
Heat up a heavy-bottomed skillet with a little bit of vegetable oil.
When the oil shimmers, place about 5 to 8 potstickers, bottom side down, in the skillet. After a minute or two, lift up one of the dumplings to check for browning.
When it looks good, add 1/4 cup water or stock and cover the skillet with the lid so that the water can steam cook the top halves of the dumplings. This will take about 3 minutes per batch.
You literally are first searing the bottom of the dumplings, and steamcooking the tops of the dumplings.
The combination is hard to beat. If you are cooking a lot, as the dumplings are cooked, transfer to a covered dish and keep warm in a warm (under 200) oven.
To freeze extra dumplings, place the uncooked dumplings on a parchment or wax paper lined baking pan. When they are frozen, 6 to 12 hours later, transfer to a container with the paper to keep them cushioned in the box. The will keep in the freezer for a few months.
Packaged like this in the freezer, it is easy to pull a few out to add a special touch to an Asian dinner or a light lunch or dinner with a cucumber salad or steamed edamame.