Friday, April 26, 2013

Skip the Wontons- Easy Faux Wonton Soup with Pasta

I love wonton soup!  But sometimes, I just don't feel like, or have the time, to make wontons and I don't really like the frozen variety.  This soup gives me the flavour of the wonton filling and the bite of the wonton wrapper with a minimum of preparation.  Add lots of ginger and vegetables and voilà! a healthy, satisfying Asian soup.

This soup serves 6 to 8.

For the meatballs
1     lb ground chicken
3 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1/4  cup chopped green onions, white part only
3     tbsp soy sauce (some soy sauces are gluten free, check the ingredients)
2     tbsp rice wine or sake
1     egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

For the broth/soup
1     bunch baby bok choy, trimmed, wilted leaves discarded and cut crosswise
1     cup snow peas, cut crosswise
1     cup mushrooms, clean and thinly sliced (white mushrooms or a variety)
1     tsp canola oil
1 1/2  tbsp chopped garlic
6     cups homemade chicken broth (or a great quality, low sodium store bought brand)
1 1/2  cups bow-tie pasta (or penne, rigatoni, large macaroni)(you can also substitute gluten free pasta)
1     tsp salt or to taste
1/2  tsp freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs:  In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all the ingredients, stirring vigorously with a spoon to form a stiff paste.  Scoop out one tablespoon of the mixture to lightly form into a ball.  Place the meatball on a sheet of parchment paper and repeat to make 20 meatballs.  If the mixture is too soft for making meatballs, refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.  Freeze the formed meatballs for about 15 minutes before placing in the broth.

Soup:  Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot, over medium-high heat until hot, about 10 seconds.  Add the garlic and stir fry for one-two minutes, careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the chicken broth, partially cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the meatballs and pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is almost tender.  Add the vegetables and continue cooking for one to two minutes, skimming the soup to remove any impurities.  Add the salt and pepper and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.  Serve immediately.

Change up the vegetables: celery, onion, rehydrated black mushrooms, carrots, chinese cabbage, spinach- all thinly sliced.  You can also serve the soup with a selection of toppings: bean sprouts, green onions, fresh cilantro or Italian parsley, fresh cubed tomato and/or even fresh cubes of pineapple.

Replace the chicken meatballs with ground pork meatballs.  Add cooked fresh shrimp (with or without the shell) or Chinese BBQ pork as a delicious topping.

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