Eating from the Bottom of the Freezer


Some days we eat from the freezer. We have one of those french door refrigerators with a bottom freezer drawer. The drawer is deep and small parcels in the freezer migrate downward through what seems to be a natural process of sorting with larger lighter parcels ending up on top and small, dense parcels ending up at the bottom.  And, as they say, “Out of sight out of mind”.

So, periodically we try to dig down in the freezer drawer to see what’s there that we have forgotten and to cook a meal from what we find.  Yesterday on one such excursion I uncovered a partial package of wonton skins, half a can of crushed tomatoes and a small package (maybe 6 oz.) of smoked pork.  But what to make from that?

I’ve made ravioli using wonton skins – not ideal as they are thinner and therefore more fragile than regular ravioli pasta.  The smoked pork would be the strongest flavor in whatever I made so that would have to drive the rest of the dish.  The tomatoes might suggest an Italian based sauce but I didn’t think the smokiness of the pork would work with an Italian flavor profile.  So… here’s what I ended up with.

Smoked Pork Dumplings in Tomato Broth

Smoked Pork Dumplings in Tomato Broth

Smoked Pork Dumplings in Tomato Broth


1 C. (about 6 oz.) Smoked Pork, shredded and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 scallions, finely chopped including most of the green part
2 Peppadew peppers (or substitute pepperoncini or red bell pepper), finely diced.  Peppadew are small sweet/spicy pickled peppers and are available in bulk or in jars in many groceries.  Pepperoncini will be hotter,  more vinegary and without any sweetness.  Bell peppers will have neither the pickled sweetness, spiciness or acid.
2 Tbs shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

20 wonton skins
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water

Mix all ingredients, except wonton skins and egg wash, together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

To fill the wonton skins lay several out on your work surface.  Paint an egg wash  (egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water) on the wonton.  Place about a scant Tablespoon of the filling in the center of each wonton skin.  Carefully place another wonton skin over each prepared bottom skin and filling.  Tuck the top skin in around the filling trying to eliminate as much air as possible, and press the top skin down against the bottom skin around the edges to seal.  Set aside on a sheet of waxed paper and continue to fill the skins until you have used up the filling.  You should have about 10 filled dumplings.

Tomato Broth

1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs onion, chopped
1 C. crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth, reduced sodium
1/4 C. dry white wine
1/4 C. water
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch saffron
1 shake hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Bring 3 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot.  Salt liberally (I use around 2 Tablespoons).  Add dumplings and cook until done (4 – 5  minutes).  Drain and gently divide the dumplings between two large shallow bowls.  Ladle half the tomato broth into each bowl.  Drizzle some good quality olive oil over the dumplings and serve.

Smoked Pork Pouches in a Tomato Broth

Smoked Pork Dumplings in Tomato Broth


6 thoughts on “Eating from the Bottom of the Freezer

  1. I’ve said this before, but I REALLY mean it this time… Brilliant title!
    I love the whole concept behind thsi post. Who can’t relate to digging out some treasure/disaster from the bottom of the freezer?
    Well doine!

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