Won Ton Soup II By Chef Tom Fraker, Melissa’s Produce

Won Ton Soup II By Chef Tom Fraker Melissa’s Produce

I love the superstitions of the lunar New Year! It amazes me how most of the superstitions for this celebration represent positive superstitions, not scary, but loving representations and symbols. For this recipe, Dumplings symbolize wealth for the Lunar New Year. It is absolutely necessary to eat dumpling to prepare and open your heart for wealth. The small addition of sherry yields flavorful meat filling in this popular Asian-style soup for the Lunar New Year. The Chinese definitely know how to “Spread Love Like Butter”. Enjoy!

Total Time:

55 minutes

Serves:

5

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork cooked
  • 1/4 lb. shrimp cooked and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. sherry
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. ginger root minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 24 sheets Won Ton Wrappers

For the Soup

  • 6 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. Baby Bok Choy cleaned and chopped
  • 1 package 0.5 ounce Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, reconstituted;
  • stems discarded and caps sliced thin see notes below
  • 1/4 c. Snow Peas
  • 2 tsp. Sesame Oil

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients and mix well.Take one won ton wrapper and place it on a working surface in a diamond shape and moisten the edges with water.
  • Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of the won ton skin. Press the skin around the filling to seal it in.
  • Moisten your fingers and wet the bottom corner, then fold the top corner over so that it meets the bottom corner and resembles an inverted triangle. Press down to seal.
  • Then moisten the left corner and bring it over to meet the right corner. Press to seal. A properly made won ton is commonly described as resembling a nurse's cap.
  • Cover filled won tons with a towel to keep them from drying out.

For the Soup

  • Place broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add the bok choy and the mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add won tons and cook for 3 minutes more.
  • Stir in the snow peas and sesame oil. Adjust seasonings and serve.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions or fried won ton strips.……………..
  • HINT: Sealing won tons is similar to sealing an envelope. Do not overfill won tons and using just a small amount of water to seal them prevents bursting. Keep the work area as dry as possible.
  • Enjoy!

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I love everything Melissa’s Produce. The fact that you can use their steamed and roasted chestnuts instead of having to roast them yourself, makes this a delicious and non-complicated dish to enjoy! It is unusual, just the name of it says unusual and it is delicious! It is easy to “Spread Love Like Butter” when serving this soup to family and friends.

Total Time:

1 hour

Serves:

7

Ingredients

  • 2 packages Melissa’s Whole Peeled and Cooked Chestnuts or 13 oz. roasted Chestnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 large Organic Yellow Onion roughly chopped
  • 2 cl. Peeled Garlic chopped
  • 2 large Organic Carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 ribs Organic Celery roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. Sherry
  • 6 c. Low Sodium Fat-Free Chicken Broth
  • 2 large Leeks; white and pale green parts only washed well and roughly chopped
  • Dried Bay Leaves
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  • Place chestnuts, in a single layer, on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, tossing them half through the cooking time. (Do this step only if using fresh chestnuts, if using Melissas no need to do step 2.)
  • In a large pot, heat the oil and melt the butter. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Next add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook until caramelized. About 10 minutes. Do not let it run dry. Add a little oil if needed.
  • Add the sherry and cook until almost dry.
  • Next, add the broth, leeks, bay leaf and chestnuts to the pot.
  • Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and discard. Carefully blend the soup until smooth, either using a submersion blender or countertop blender.

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Total Time:

2 hours

Serves:

Ingredients

  • Enough Tiger Pumpkins for each one of your guests.

Directions

  • Carve off the tops of the pumpkins.
  • With a grapefruit spoon scrape out the meat and seeds, being careful not to scrape the bottom too thinly.
  • Once hallowed out, using organic coconut oil spray, spray the inside only and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  • Wipe the outside of the pumpkins with a paper towel to remove the extra oil so they do not char in the oven.
  • Place on a cookie sheet upside down on a rack and bake with the tops off but also in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. Watching closely to be sure they do not crack or split.

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Serves:

6-8

Total Time:

40 mins

For the Soup

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp.  fennel seeds

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

  • Crispy cooked bacon, chopped, for garnish

  • Grated Parmesan, for garnish

  • Pomegranate Gremolata, (for garnish, recipe follows

    Pomegranate Gremolata Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, celery, fennel, onion, salt and fennel seeds.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Add 4 cups water and the bay leaf to the pan and stir. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover with a lid.

Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Allow to cool slightly.

Puree the soup in two batches, adding half of the almond milk to each batch. Return the soup to the Dutch oven, and heat to warm through–alternatively, pour the soup into a slow cooker and keep warm on the low setting. Serve garnished with bacon, Parmesan and Pomegranate Gremolata.

 Pomegranate Gremolata

In a bowl, mix the parsley, pomegranate seeds, lemon zest and salt.

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My daughter is a vegetarian, so she won’t eat chicken soup. Naturally, I cannot cook the matzo balls in chicken stock. I cook them in heavily salted water the way I would cook pasta and they turn out wonderfully. Then I serve them to her in a vegetarian stock. The key to fluffy big Matzo balls is seltzer water (as my grandmother used to call it). Today we just all call it club soda. You can also substitute rendered chicken fat for the Ghee if you really want to go old-world on this. This pairs with my comforting chicken soup recipe. Enjoy! Factoid: The second largest population of Jews in the diaspora is in France. The herbs de Provence in this recipe is a nod to them as I can imagine them using it.

Total Time:

1 hour

Serves:

7

Ingredients

  • 4 extra-large eggs separated
  • ½ c. club soda
  • ¼ c. Ghee melted or rendered chicken fat if you want to be traditional
  • 2 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence
  • 1 c. matzo meal
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

Directions

  • Gently mix the egg yolks, club soda, ghee, Herbs de Provence and two tsps. salt.
  • Gently stir in the matzo meal.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the egg whites with the remaining tsp. of salt until they are stiff with strong peaks.
  • Fold them into the matzo mixture gently and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  • With a 1.5-inch ice cream scoop, form into balls. Drop them into simmering well salted water and cook for 30 minutes, rolling them over after cooking them for 15 minutes.
  • Be sure to roll each one of them individually.
  • Serve two in each bowl of chicken soup. Enjoy!

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Total Time:

5 hours

Serves:

8

Ingredients

  • 2 Whole 3-4 lbs. Chicken
  • or
  • 1 Whole Chicken and 4 lbs. chicken legs and thighs combination
  • 2 Large yellow onions unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 Carrots unpeeled and halved
  • 6 stalks celery with leaves cut in half
  • 1 Large Rutabaga
  • 1 Large Turnip
  • 1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 Large bunch thyme
  • 1 Large bunch dill
  • 3 Large sprigs rosemary
  • 2 Large heads garlic unpeeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 Tbs. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs whole black peppercorns
  • To Serve:
  • 6 Diced carrots
  • 6 Diced whole celery
  • 1/8 c. Fresh dill
  • ½ c. Fresh Italian parsley

Directions

  • If you are using the 4 lbs. of legs and thighs when purchasing, ask the butcher to split or crush the bones of the meat before packaging. This allows the broth to become richer with collagen and create more of a rich healthy bone broth that creates a jellied consistency when cold. A true sign of lots of collagen for good health.
  • Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, rutabaga, turnip, parsley, thyme, dill, rosemary, garlic and seasonings in a 16 quart stock pot. Cover with water to about ¾ of the pot. Bring to a boil. Remove the whole chicken and let cool. Remove the breast meat and cover and setting it aside until soup is ready for serving. Return the remaining carcass’ to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered for 3 more hours.
  • Strain the entire contents of the pot through a fine sieve. Let it cool and then chill. I always find making this a day ahead is a good way to go. Sometimes it can take hours to cool down. You do not want to put it in the fridge to chill if it is still hot because it will sour. Also, most of the dark meat will disintegrate over the 3 hours. I throw everything away.

Video

Notes

Tip: If there is any dark meat worth saving, I always pack it up for meals for my little pup. He loves it.
To serve the soup, reheat the stock in a pot adding the carrots, celery, dill and parsley. Shred the reserved chicken breasts into larger pieces and add to the pot. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Season to taste and serve over 2 matzo balls.

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When I was 5 months pregnant with our daughter, May of 1981, my husband and I were invited to Maui as a reward for my husband’s sales success. While there with about 25 other couples, we purchased a box of about 4 dozen Maui Onions, and a box of pineapples. I really did not know what to do with that many onions except give them away as gifts. A friend of ours on the trip gave me this French Onion Soup recipe and it has been a family favorite ever since. And it has gotten better over the years, because I became a better cook over the years!!!

Total Time:

3 hours

Serves:

7

Ingredients

  • 12 Red onions or sweet Maui onions
  • 1 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. Sweet Butter
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3 Tbs. All-purpose flour
  • 3 c. Chicken broth undiluted or Vegetable stock
  • 4 c. Beef broth undiluted or Vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ c. dry vermouth preferred or white wine
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 8 pcs. of toasted French Bread
  • 2-3 c. Shredded Gruyere Cheese
  • 1 Egg yolk or 2 Tbs. Cognac preferred

Directions

  • Sauté onions in butter and olive oil for 2 hours.
  • 1st 30 minutes – sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar stirring for 30 minutes till golden brown on low heat.
  • 2nd 1.5 hours – on low heat, sprinkle flour over onions stir and dissolve. Let onions continue to simmer for remaining time.
  • Bring soup broths to a boil. Remove onions from heat and blend in the boil soups. Add the wine, mustard and seasoning and continue to simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to be sure onions are not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pre heat oven to 320 degrees.
  • Place the bread at the bottom of a large casserole or one piece per individual bowl. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese over the breads. Add the Cognac (or egg yolk) to the soup stirring it through the broth. Then pour in the soup over the bread, (it will rise to the top). Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere and bake for 25 minutes till cheese turns a beautiful brown and is slightly crisp in some areas. Serve immediately.

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To the Pumpkins:
I have always loved the pictures of butternut squash soup being served in pumpkin bowls. The problem is that every recipe I found caused the pumpkins to be overcooked and become too soft, and the soup would seep out of it. What I learned after many times of trial and error, is that you just want to cook the pumpkins long enough at a medium heat to get the raw smell out of them. And, you don’t want to scrape the bottom too much or you could puncture or cause a hole. It is ok to leave a little extra pumpkin meat in the bottom for extra protection. What you will have is a beautiful, splendid presentation during any fall holiday.
Serves: 6-8
Total Time: 30 Minutes.
To the Butternut Squash Soup:
I don’t ever remember having butternut squash soup growing up. I never even heard of it until 1999 when I was in South Africa deep within the Kruger National Park at a game Lodge called Sabi Sabi. Every sunrise and sunset we would go out on a photographic game drive and be amazed at the nature we were observing. One evening after one of our sunset drives we returned starving and a bit tipsy as they serve alcohol right before and after you take off for the adventure. Sabi Sabi had a staff of gourmet chefs that fed us fabulous meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This night they served a starter of butternut squash soup. It was amazing. I never had such flavor hit my taste buds. I so, so loved it. I asked for the recipe, but the chefs (who spoke a South African native language) and I could not quite communicate. I spent years working to perfect it. My family loves it. I think I got close. Enjoy!

Total Time:

1 hour

Serves:

5

Ingredients

To Roast the Pumpkins:

  • Miniature Tiger Pumpkins one for each one of your guests
  • Organic coconut oil spray
  • To Make the Butternut Squash Soup:
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3, 12 oz. packages cubed butternut squash
  • 2 quarts. organic vegetable stock
  • 1 large clove garlic or 2 small, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp. fresh sage
  • ½ c. heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping

  • ½ c. heavy whipping cream
  • ½ c. Crème Fraiche

Directions

To Roast the Pumpkins

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Cut off the tops of the pumpkins.
  • With a grapefruit or serrated spoon, scrape out the meat and seeds, being careful not to scrape the bottom too thinly.
  • Once hollowed out, spray the inside of the pumpkin with the organic coconut oil spray.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Wipe the outside of the pumpkins with a paper towel to remove the extra oil so they do not char in the oven.
  • Place upside down on a cookie sheet lined with a cooking rack and bake with the tops off but also in the oven for 15 minutes. Watching closely to be sure they do not crack or split. You will know they are done when they no longer smell raw and have a sweet pumpkin aroma to them. .
  • To Make the Butternut Squash Soup:
  • Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large non-metallic stock pot.
  • Add the chopped onion pieces until they begin to soften and turn translucent before they begin to brown, about five minutes.
  • Add the butter and then add the squash and cook stirring occasionally until the edges begin to brown and the squash begins to soften on the outside layer, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute until it softens being careful it does not brown or begin to burn.
  • Add the vegetable stock, thyme, sage and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the squash is very soft about 20 mins.
  • Take the soup off the heat, and then pour in the heavy cream. Puree the soup using an immersion blender.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Pour into your roasted Tiger Pumpkin Bowls.

For the topping

  • Mix together the cream and Crème Fraiche in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the soup making designs as you go. Garnish with a piece of sage.

Video

Notes

Tip: I use little Tiger Pumpkins for this recipe – but any miniature pumpkins are off the grocery shelves the day after Halloween will do. I buy them for Thanksgiving in late October and place them in the refrigerator till Thanksgiving. They will keep perfectly. If you wait till November 5, you will not find a single one! So figure out your Thanksgiving invite list early and buy enough in October.
Tip: Fried sage is an awesome treat on this. Just spray a little olive oil in a pan and sauté till crispy! Voila!

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