Baked Sausage & Spinach Dumplings


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Do you ever have those moments when you are walking through the grocery store, looking at all the products with your list in hand, and you just spontaneously decide to veer from your pre-determined agenda and buy random things to throw together?  That happens to me a lot, but usually my creations don’t turn out that well.

This one did, though!  I was pleasantly surprised, because the ingredient combo sounds a little strange.  I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, but I threw together breakfast sausage, a little white wine, some veggies, a little teriyaki sauce and an egg.  As strange as it sounds, that combo nestled inside a crispy wonton just tasted darn good.  If you aren’t as adventurous, you can always just use some ground meat like pork, turkey, or chicken or even tofu.   I am sure it will still taste great.  Heck, maybe even better!

I love using broccoli stems in my cooking.  This is the part of broccoli that often gets tossed out, but it is so good.  All you have to do is cut off the dried end and peel off the tough outer layer.  What you will be left with is a mildly flavored, tender core that I believe tastes better than the florets.  The broccoli stem stays crunchy in these wontons, almost like cabbage would (hmmm…I think I would add cabbage to these the next time I make them).

Because I was testing this recipe out, I didn’t make a large quantity.  The next time I make these, I will make a huge batch and par bake a bunch and freeze them.  Stuffing each little wonton takes some time, so if you have them, older kids would probably have fun helping you fill and seal them.

What you need to make about 12-18 of these:

Wonton skins (usually you can find these in your produce department)

1/3 of a package of breakfast sausage (you know, the kind that comes in the plastic tube).  If you are into measurements, I’d estimate about 6 oz or eyeball around 2/3-1/2 Cup of cooked, crumbled sausage.

1/2 Cup of julienned broccoli stems (peel off the tough exterior of the stems and cut them into thin strips, then into matchsticks about 1″ long).  You could also use prepackaged broccoli slaw from the grocery store.

1 tsp of finely minced fresh ginger

1 scallion diced (both green and white parts)

1 Tbs of terriyaki sauce

1 Cup of baby spinach, julienned

2 Tbs of liquid to deglaze pan (I used white wine, but you can use stock or even some water)

1 egg, beaten

cooking spray

Procedure:

Brown your sausage over medium high heat until fully cooked.  If you don’t use breakfast sausage, you may want to season whatever protein you do use with a healthy dose of salt and pepper.  Also, if you use a lean protein, add a bit of oil to the pan before browning.

Deglaze your pan with 2 Tbs or less of liquid, just enough to scrape up any bits of sausage that may be stuck on the bottom of your pan.  If you are using a non-stick pan, you may not need this step at all.

As a side note, I threw out all of my non-stick pans years ago.  You can read the Environmental Working Group’s article titled “Skip the non-stick to avoid the dangers of Teflon”.

Lower your heat to medium low and add your minced ginger, your broccoli stem, and your scallion.  Once most of the liquid is reduced out, add your terriyaki sauce, your scallion and your spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, then let it cool.

Pour about half of one beaten egg into your meat and veggie mixture and incorporate completely.  This will help your wonton filling stay together when it bakes.  The rest of your beaten egg will be used to seal the wontons.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and start filling those wrappers.  To fill them, you need to brush egg on half of the wonton, on the diagonal.  Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of your wonton wrapper and pull one corner over to meet the opposite corner, making a triangle.  Press down the edges firmly to seal and set it aside on a clean plate.  Cover your assembled wontons with a towel so they don’t dry out too much while you are filling the rest.

Once you use up all your filling, spray cooking spray on a baking tray and place your wontons on the tray about 1 inch apart.  Then spray the tops of your wontons with cooking spray, too.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until they start to crisp up and become a bit brown.  Watch them carefully because they can burn quickly.

I like to serve these with a quick dipping sauce made from one part soy sauce and one part red wine vinegar.  Add a little minced ginger, hot sauce, and scallion.  This is a great little appetizer.  Let me know what you think if you make these and use breakfast sausage.  I was surprised the sausage flavor didn’t completely overwhelm the other flavors, but maybe I’m just a sucker for sausage.

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