Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chinese New Year!

One of my favorite things to do is step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at a cuisine that is not my norm.  I like to experiment a little.  You know, have some fun with it.  I like to try Japanese food, French food, Hawaiian food, etc.  I’ve dabbled in it all.  And by no means do I claim it is authentic….it is more like my “Courtney” spin on different dishes. 

 I also like to introduce my kids to different cultures by having them try different foods.  My eight year old’s favorite food is now Japanese food, and my little one loves Vietnamese food.  Go figure.  But, I do know it stems from my willingness to try new foods, and my attempts at cooking them.

Today I have a couple of recipes for you that are my attempt at Chinese food.  I’m reminding you now that I do not claim these as authentic recipes at all…more like my watered down attempt.  I thought it was fitting to cook a little Chinese food since Chinese New Year is coming up in a couple of weeks.  What better way to celebrate the Year of the Snake?

My first recipe is all about frying up some wontons.  I am going to show you how to make Ginger Chicken Wontons.  Are you intimidated by the thought of making wontons?  Don’t be.  They are one of the easiest things you could make.  And fun too! 

I start by sautéing chicken thighs in a little bit of oil.  I use thighs because I prefer the flavor.  You can use breasts if you want, or even ground chicken or turkey.  After the chicken is cooked, everything else gets thrown in the food processor with the chicken and the filling is done.  “Everything else” is Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear spread, soy sauce, garlic, water chestnuts, and green onions.

 I “pulse” everything in the food processor until it is the right consistency.  I don’t want a paste, but I do need the pieces small enough to fit in wonton wrappers.  Easy enough so far, right?

Now it’s time to fill some wontons.  I use store bought wonton wrappers.  They are usually by the bagged salad and veggies in the grocery store.  Wonton wrappers need to stay moist, so leave them under a damp paper towel while you are filling….If they get too dry they will break.

I use about a teaspoon of filling in each wrapper.  I fold the wrapper in half diagonally, and the edges get sealed with water.  Once they are sealed…they get fried in about 3 inches of oil.  These are a quick fry, and before you know it…you have amazing wontons!


These wontons are filled with flavor.  They taste salty, sweet and a bit spicy from the ginger.  The ginger pear spread may sound like a surprising ingredient, but it works so well with Asian flavors.  You will love these.

My next recipe is kind of a takeoff on one of my favorite Chinese dishes…Orange Chicken.  Just like with the wontons, Orange Chicken is sweet and salty at the same time.  I love that combination.  But today, I am going to show you my recipe for Orange Beef.  You could use chicken if you want….but the beef works so well in this recipe….you won’t want to.

I start my recipe with a filet mignon.  Yes, I know this is a pricier cut of beef, but it is oh so good. You really could use any cut you want….I just prefer a filet.

The filet mignon gets cooked on the stovetop until it is brown on both sides.  I stick mine in the oven to finish cooking, and then the sauce gets cooked right in the pan that cooked the beef.

I sauté about a half a sliced onion and some garlic in a smidge more oil, over medium heat.  I cook the onion and garlic just until the onion is starting to brown.  Then, I add in orange marmalade, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha hot sauce, and fresh ginger.  I let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it is thick and delicious.  I serve the sauce poured over the beef, which I usually slice pretty thin.  All this gets served over a bed of rice.


Let me tell you right now…this sauce is nothing short of a miracle.  You will be amazed at how good this tastes.  And your house will smell phenomenal.  The orange marmalade is sweet, the hot sauce is spicy, and the filet is tender and perfect.  This is one of my favorite meals, and I bet you will love it too!  I hope you try it….maybe February 10th?

Ginger Chicken Wontons

Wonton wrappers, about 40

1 tablespoon oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¾ lb. chicken thighs, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear Spread

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1/3 cup water chestnuts, drained

1/3 cup green onion, chopped

Water for sealing

Oil for frying, (Vegetable or peanut)

In a large sauté pan, sauté chicken in oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. 

Add cooked chicken to food processor.  Add Ginger Pear spread, garlic, water chestnuts, green onions and soy sauce.  Pulse until mixture is blended, but still chunky.

Fill wonton wrappers with about 1 teaspoon of filling each.  Seal edges with water.  Place wontons on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. 

Deep fry, in pre-heated oil, about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels

Makes about 40.


Orange Beef

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ lbs. Filet Mignon

½ a small onion, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup Orange Marmalade

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce

1 tablespoon Sesame Oil

2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

Preheat a skillet over high heat.  Season Filet with salt and pepper.  Add oil and filet to skillet and sear on both sides, 5 minutes a side.  Take filet out of pan and set aside to rest.

To the same pan, add onion and garlic.  Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until onions are starting to brown.  Add marmalade, soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame oil and ginger.  Cook sauce over medium heat for another five minutes.  Sauce will thicken slightly.

Slice filet thinly and serve over rice.  Pour sauce over filet.

Serves 4

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