As soon as I got up this morning, I headed for the computer to find out what the Iron Chef Challenge ingredients were! Apples and Ginger! I even have those. Then the ideas started. After trying out about 5 in my head (and shopping for one of them), I decided to go a completely different route.
We’ve had a treasured package of vegan wonton wrappers in the freezer for a few months. When we finally tracked them down, I didn’t want to use them right away. Kind of like saving new clothes for a special occasion. Today was the day! About 4:30, I grabbed them out of the freezer and put them on top of the dryer in hopes they’d defrost in time for dinner. They did.
Ginger Seitan Apple Pierogies with Brandied Onions
32 vegan wonton wrappers + a few extra if they tear
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz chicken seitan, diced
1 cup diced apples* tossed with juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup sauerkraut
2 inches ginger, divided use
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
2 large onions, sliced in thin half moons
2/3 cup diced red peppers
1/2 cup brandy
1 Tbsp tamari
canola oil to spray a sheet
water for putting them together
Make the filling first. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Add the apples, sauerkraut, 1 Tbsp of ginger and other spices. Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes longer, check the seasonings and remove from heat. Set aside. Put a big pot of water on to boil the peirogies. Here’s what my filling looked like:
Make the topping next. Heat the eb in a large frying pan over medium high heat, preferably cast iron. When melted, add the onions and saute until turning golden, then carmelizing. Turn down the heat to medium if you’re using cast iron and they really get cooking. When they look transparent and gorgeous, add the last Tbsp of ginger and the peppers. The idea is for the peppers to stay crunchy, so cook for only another 2-3 minutes after adding them. Add 1/2 cup of brandy and let it cook off. Add the tamari, adjust the seasonings and set aside. The tamari really darkens up the onions, don’t be surprised.
Now comes the fun part: the pierogies. I think it’s easiest to do this in a kind of assembly line of 4 at a time. Spread out 4 wrappers on a cutting board. Place 1 Tbsp of filling in the center of each. Take a second wrapper and place it on top, patting it against the filling and working out, the best you can. Use wet fingers to seal them well and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Keep going until you use all the wrappers. You should get about 16 of them. Cook them without crowding in the pot of boiling water. It only takes 2-3 minutes per batch. They start to look clear and pop up to the top. Remove them, placing them back on the sprayed sheet so they don’t stick to anything. When they’re all cooked, place them on plates and top with the onion mixture.
*For the best texture, use a Mac or other firm apple that holds it’s shape.
I was pleased with how these turned out! The crunchy peppers on top with the sweet but savory onions are a perfect compliment to the seitan apple filling that has a slight tang from the sauerkraut.
The other challenges are scheduled for when we’re on vacation so I won’t get another shot until the last weekend. But I’m already looking forward to all the creative and delicious posts that will come out of these challenges. Thanks for coming up with it, Katie!