To match Pinot Noir...
Mushroom Won Tons sans Soup
A pasta course that will leave them wontoning more
I n g r e d i e n t s to S e r v e 6 -
Portabella Mushrooms - 2 large mushrooms with stems reserved
( Alternatively ) Crimini Mushrooms - Equivalent amount of these baby Portabellas
Shiitake Mushrooms - 12 small to medium, 6 of which are for presentation
Yellow or White Onion - 1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
Marsala - enough to facilitate the sauté
Thyme - 1 to 2 tsp of fresh chopped, or dried thyme
Cracked Black Pepper and Salt - to taste
Armagnac - to taste at the end
the Chopping, Wrap and Broth
the Sauté - all of the solids with juice left in the pan
Egg White - 3 egg whites, not egg substitute
Gimme lean soy 'Beef" - 1/2 of the 14 oz tube
Parsley - 1 to 2 tsp per, chopped with everything else
Won Ton Wraps - 1 package of the round ones
Water and Broth - about 4 to 5 inches deep in a large pot
Salt - in the water/broth, enough for boiling pasta
the Sauce and Presentation
Red wine - 1/2 bottle, 375 ml, of something decent
Mushrooms - the reserved cup of Portabella caps finely chopped
Garlic - 6 to 10 cloves, medium chopped
Cracked Black Pepper - 1 heaping tsp
Mustards - Dijon and Coarse-Brown, 1 Tbls each
Molasses - approx 1 Tbls
Thickening agent - if needed
Shiitake Mushrooms - 6 whole, cooked with the sauté, for presentation
Red Bell Pepper - 1 cut into 1/4 inch disc for presentation
- T o o l s -
A large non-stick frying pan with lid
Large pot for boiling broth and won tons
Knife, cutting board, measuring and slotted spoons
- T h e B i g P i c t u r e -
These won tons and Pinot Noir are birds of a feather.
In fact you will see them fly off of people's plates.
In a sense this is comfort food... juicy, savory, and in this case, healthy.
The one thing that is almost impossible with this dish is to make leftovers;
it seems no matter how many won tons you make, they are all eaten.
This is a relatively elaborate recipe, if you want to cut down on the prep,
you can eliminate the sauce, but keep the red bell pepper garnish.
The good new is that it can be made ahead.... However, if you are having
a long multi-course dinner, and depending on how formal it is, it is a fun
break for everyone to get up and help finish wrapping the won tons.
You will need the following personnel:
a won ton placer, a scooper/plopper, a won ton wetter, a folder, and a presser.
Plus the usual supervisors with wine glasses in hand of course !
- T h e S a u t é -
Wash all the mushrooms and cut off and compost any nasty parts of the stems.
Break off the stems from the Portabellas and reserve them for the sauce.
Reserve 6 of the Shiitake mushrooms for the presentation.
Coarsely chop all the remaining Mushrooms and the half Onion.
Put them in a large non-stick frying pan, with about a glug of Marsala,
don't let the mixture go dry, more liquid is better than less.
Make a space in one corner of the pan a put in the Shiitake to 'steam'.
Put on the lid and cook over medium heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Take out the whole Shiitakes and reserve in a small bowl.
Season the remaining mushrooms and onion with 1 to 2 tsp of Thyme,
1 to 1 heaping tsp of cracked black pepper, salt, and Armagnac.
With a slotted spoon, take out the sauté solids, leaving the juice behind in the pan.
Put the solids in a bowl to cool.
- T h e S a u c e -
In the same frying pan that has the juice from the sauté, pour in the half bottle of red wine.
Put in the 1 to 2 tsp of cracked black pepper, several cloves of garlic medium chopped,
the finely chopped Portabella stems, and set it at medium heat to reduce.
How far you reduce it depends on if you want to thicken it and make more sauce,
or continue reducing it and just make a bit of sauce for each plate.
If you want more sauce, which I think is a little better, you will need to
thicken it with your favorite thickener, such as arrowroot, cornstarch,
or guar gum (available from BobsRedMill.com).
After you have the consistency that you want, add the mustards.
Blend together at least a Tbls each of a brown/grainy mustard and
a Dijon style mustard. Now you need to balance the acidity that
is excessive because of the reduced red wine. Do this with a combination
of molasses and brown sugar, start with a Tbls of molasses.
Turn the heat down or off and set aside.
Just before serving, re-heat and make the final adjustments with some
finely chopped garlic, medium chopped parsley, ground black pepper, and sugar.
- T h e C h o p p i n g , W r a p p i n g , a n d B o i l i n g -
While the sauté is still in the bowl and cool, taste it and make any adjustments to taste.
Turn it out onto a chopping board and add the Gimme lean soy 'beef'.
Gimme lean is made by the lightlife company, if you can't find this soy product,
you can substitute soy hamburger patties, but try and find it because it has the
quality of stickiness which better mimics fresh ground pork.
Add the three egg whites (not egg substitute because it doesn't bind as well),
and the parsley. With the long kitchen knife or cleaver, start to chop. It will stick
to the knife, so with the flat side of a table knife, scrape both sides of the kitchen knife.
Continue chopping until everything is well mixed and hanging together.
Transfer this to a bowl or leave it on the chopping board if it's mobile.
Now you need to find/make a space that you can lay out the won ton wraps and
start the process of making them. How it is that you make them is another holy-grail
of cooking, so don't be surprised if you are told by an experienced cook that you
are doing exactly the wrong way. This is one way to do it for one person working:
Get a cookie sheet or 2 - 3 plates for the won tons to cure upon, get a cup of water.
Open the won ton package and take out the pasta that you need, don't let it dry out.
Put about 4 to 8 of them on a clean, dry surface. Put about a little less than a
heaping tsp of the chopped filling on each pasta-wrap; don't overfill them because
it makes closing them a drag. Now, one won ton at a time, take your finger and dip it
into the cup of water. Run your well-moistened finger around the edge of the pasta.
Immediately fold it over to make a half circle and press it down a little bit.
Repeat with the others that you have laid out. Once they are all folded over,
pick them up one at a time and press down the edges so they are well sealed and
the stuffing won't leak out during the boiling. Set them on the cookie sheet to let
them air dry and harden up a bit. Avoid letting them touch each other as they will
stick together until the are dry. Depending on how many other courses you are serving,
make 4 to 7 per person. They can be made well ahead of time and frozen on the
cookie sheets, then once frozen, transferred to labeled and dated freezer bags.
The won tons then get boiled in a water/broth mixture. This part totally depends on
what you have on hand and is not particularly fussy to it success. If you have a clear
broth available, or a little veggie chicken powder, or bullion cubes, or just a few
cloves of garlic... but not soy sauce or any of its derivatives because it pushes the dish to
the East and does not enhance the Pinot match. Put in enough water and broth in a pot to
get it to about 4 to 5 inches deep in liquid. Salt the water generously, as you would when
boiling any pasta. When at a rolling-boil, put the won tons in, about a dozen at a time.
At first they will sink, stir gently to keep them from sticking together.
When the pot returns to a simmer, and the won tons start to float on the surface,
they are almost done. Let them boil for about a 2 to 3 minute more after they start to float.
With a wide and slotted spoon, lift the won tons out of the broth and let them drain.
Promptly put in the next batch and get ready to arrange them on the plates.
- P r e s e n t a t i o n a n d T o T h e T a b l e -
The simplest presentation is to put the white won tons on brightly colored plates.
The next-step-up is to use white plates and garnish with red bell pepper.
This is done by taking a red bell pepper and cutting the top off, then with a
spoon, clean out the veins and seeds, you can give it a rinse to get all the seeds out.
Now cut the pepper into discs about 1/4 inch thick. You should be able to get
six slices out of one pepper. This will give you a fun and bright rosette-like
form in the center of the plate, with the won tons placed around it toward the edge
of the plate. You can add to that picture by putting a dab of tarragon mustard in the
center of the pepper on the white plate, or.... If you have the time and inclination, then
putting-it-over-the-top is done by filling the disc of red bell pepper with the
reduction/sauce. Don't over fill it, rather, provide a bowl of the warm sauce at
the table if people want more. And don't forget that Pinot !
Pass the Pinot Please
and let the
Bon Temps roll with the Won Ton