Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
by McGonagirl, MaceVindaloo
Once in a while, all your social obligations accumulate and you find that you have a big list of people whom you really should have over for dinner. But you aren't exactly flush with funds, and there are too many people to invite. You can make lists to see who's compatible, who's talking to whom, who wants to meet whom, who's hobbies dovetail well, who's married to whom, who's divorced from what, who's on the make ... or you can just invite everyone, and if fireworks fly, hope you have a ringside seat!|
A cocktail party is just the thing, and the Two Fat Saxon Witches don't often like throwing parties at all, but they have been known to help out at the parties of others, if they feel like it. And they are known for making things that somehow can be construed as commentary about the guests or the host.
A party was hosted by Cornelius Fudge on the occasion of him stepping down from his job at Minister of Magic. He would stay on in a consultory capacity, and in "gratitude," he threw the party as a welcome for the new minister, Rufus Scrimgeour. He basically invited everyone who worked at the Ministry, whether they were friend or foe, or what side of the you-know-who's debacle they sat. Fireworks were bound to fly during this tense time, even as everyone tried to "make nice" to the new man in power.
It's not really known how the Two Fat Saxon Witches feel about either man, but they opted to serve something called "potstickers." They're so named because when they are panfried/steamed as is traditional in parts of Asia, these dumplings stick to the pan and considerable skill is required to remove them intact from their cooking vessel. Done without thought or skill, you get a mess: burnt, ripped up, ugly looking things, for which there is no repair. Done carefully and patiently, the result is sublime, no matter what the filling. As for the filling, was it on purpose that to create so many potstickers, only one chicken's worth of breastmeat was used (and leftover meat at that!)? Perhaps they didn't feel the assembled crowd was worth even a whole pullet?
It DOES sound like a political comment, doesn't it? Without saying a word, the Two Fat Saxon Witches made their thoughts and warning clear, yet digestible.
The Saxon Witches showed many of their cooking school students how to make these potstickers. It's a great favorite, but many of the witches who study with them like the ravioli option simpler to make, and less skill needed to cook them! Instructions for both potstickers and ravioli assembly are given, below.
Serve with your favorite dipping or pasta sauces, or as a nice pasta meal, or as dumplings in soup, or or or ...
Cook the spinach in a pot of salted water by dropping into the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove to a colander and flush with cold water immediately to cool the leaves down. Drain well and squeeze the water out of the cooked leaves. Alternatively, you can put the leaves in a plastic bag with a bit of water and microwave for 30 seconds. When cooked, fill the bag with cold water and drain through a colander, and squeeze out the water.
- 2 lbs / 900 g baby spinach, washed thoroughly
- 1 large onion, cut to fit into a food processor
- 1 cup roughly chopped or ripped herbs: basil, oregano, marjoran, parsley in any combination
- ¾ lb / 350 g chicken meat, cooked (leftovers are fine), chopped about two chicken breasts in total amount of meat, skin and bones removed
- ½ cup pine nuts, optional
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
- ½ cup grated hard Italian cheese: parmesan, locatelli, pecorino, romano, etc.
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 100 to 200 wonton skins
- (for pan-frying) about 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or water
Using a food processor, chop the onion and add the spinach and herbs and pulse to chop and mix together. Add the cut-up chicken and the optional pine nuts, and pulse till the mixture is like coarse meal. Dump out the mixture into a large bowl and mix with the beaten eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Make sure the mixture is well blended.
To form the potstickers:
- Take one wonton skin and drop a scant teaspoon of filling into the center.
- Dampen the edges all the way around with water; you can use your fingertip, or a brush, or even the back of a spoon.
- Fold the bottom half of the wonton up over the filling, setting it a bit askew.
- With your left thumb (as in the diagram and photos), seal down the left side of the potsticker to seal. With the fingers of your right hand, pleat the top half of the skin over the area you sealed shut. Move your thumb over the fold to again seal the dumpling. Then make another pleat.
- Repeat for four or five pleats. On the last "seal" try to exclude as much air as possible from the inside of the potsticker.
To form ravioli:
- Place wonton skin flat on your work surface and put a teaspoon of filling into the center. Note: depending on the size of the skin, you can add up to a tablespoon of filling.
- Dampen the edges of the wonton with water, using your finger, a brush, or the back of a spoon, dipped in water.
- Place another wonton skin over the filling. Press down around the area of the filling, eliminating air from the filling.
- Pressing outwards, seal the edges of the two wontons together.
- If you wish, you can further seal the raviolis with the tines of a fork, or with a pastry wheel.
To Boil the potstickers or ravioli
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.
- You will need a straining device, like a spider or skimmer, to remove the dumplings out of the water when they are done cooking.
- Put potstickers or ravioli into the pot, no more than 8 at a time. Drop them in carefully, and stir them up a bit to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot or to each other.
- They are done when they float to the top of the pot. Remove from the pot and place on a rack to drain, then quickly transfer to bowls or plates for serving. They can be drizzled with oil to help keep them from sticking if you wish.
- Repeat with remaining potstickers or dumplings.
- You can cook frozen potstickers or dumplings this way as well. They will take a few minutes longer to cook and float up.
To Pan-fry & Steam potstickers
- Use a non-stick skillet with a well-fitting lid, on the stovetop. Heat it till quite hot over medium heat, then add a small amount of oil, just to coat the pan.
- Add the potstickers to the pan, arranging them so they don't touch one another, and without overcrowding the pan. Allow to cook for 90 to 120 seconds without poking or touching the potstickers. They are supposed to stick to the pan.
- Quickly add about ¼ cup broth or water to the pan and cover with the lid for one minute. There will be a lot of sizzling and steam.
- Open the lid and reduce the heat to low, and allow the liquids to simmer till the pan is nearly dry, about another minute. Remove from the pan; the potstickers can be kept warm in a low-temperature oven while you cook the rest of them.
- Before cooking the next batch, wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Don't burn yourself.
NOTE: These don't deep-fry successfully.
- Set a skillet over medium heat and add ¼- to ½ inch vegetable oil. Heat till a breadcrumb dropped in sizzles and turns brown immediately.
- Place the potstickers or ravioli flat in the pan, without overcrowding. There will a lot of sizzling and spattering, so be careful.
- Cook for about a minute, till the wonton skins are blistered and browned. Turn the potstickers or ravioli to cook the other side.
- Remove to a rack or onto paper towels to drain off the oil. Serve hot or at room temperature. As needed, replenish the oil and heat it up to temperature before adding more potstickers or raviolis.
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