05 November 2010

Exotically local

Charlotta's post about her Jerusalem artichokes (which from now on I'm going to call sunchokes, for reasons of brevity and linguistic pedantry) reminded me that I had yet to investigate whether my May-planted specimens had produced any tubers.

I was pleasantly surprised - in the first six inches of my row I harvested two and a half pounds (over a kilogram) of sunchokes:


I've been reading about sunchokes having unfortunate digestive effects on people, so thought it best to introduce them in small quantities at first. Mike had found wonton wrappers in a local Asian food store in response to a request from Child #2 for steamed wonton dumplings. One of the recipes I'd been looking at called for water chestnuts, for which sunchokes seemed a fair substitute.

Ingredients:

1 lb (500g) side of pork, minced (from our meat CSA scheme)
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 small sunchoke tubers, finely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornflour/starch

c.80 wonton wrappers

Once everything is chopped, mix all the ingredients together. Then comes the fiddly part: foming the dumplings. I found it easier to work with about six to eight wrappers at a time, keeping a damp piece of kitchen paper over the rest of the pile.

Put a teaspoonful of filing inside each wrapper:


Moisten the edges and then draw the corners together:


Put the dumplings on plates, covered with damp kitchen paper, until you're ready to cook them. I used a lightly-oiled regular stainless steel steamer on top of a pan of water, but you could also fry the dumplings. In the steamer, they take five minutes (I initially thought this wouldn't be enough time to cook the pork, but it was). I did them in batches of ten at a time.

I served up dipping sauces of chilli jam and a mixture of hoisin sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar. I was concerned that 80 dumplings might be too many for a family of five, but I need not have worried!


The principle ingredients for this dish all came from the County. Even the wonton wrappers were only made in Toronto. Inspiration from China: ingredients from Ontario. Love it.

2 comments:

Elizabeth McDonald said...

OMG - that seems like SO MUCH WORK! However, I want to try this...will let you know how it works (probably december :-)

Also - what do do with horseradish? I have some that I can't seem to kill and don't really know how to process once I back-hoe it out of the ground...thoughts?

Amanda said...

You're right, it was a lot of work! But if you get into the right zen-like state of mind (and avoid interruptions) it's not too stressy.

You can turn horseradish into a sauce (instructions here) which will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks (not very long if you're not going to eat it much) - or (and this is what I'd do) you can freeze the roots whole and just grate them as you need them. I found out recently that you can do this with root ginger, too.

Of course the danger with the second course of action is that you just end up with a freezer full of horseradish roots that you never use. ;-)