East meets West

31 Jan

“Burgers made from leftover spicy pork wonton filling is a favorite staff lunch at China Moon Cafe in San Francisco. The meat mixture is moist and zestily seasoned, so a mild Dijon mustard is a terrific accompaniment…. Wonton, by the way, translates as “cosmic chaos”. The word dates back to Chinese antiquity when the universe was described as a jumble of light and dark enclosed in a thin shell, hence the edible invention of the wonton.”

China Moon Cafe Wonton Burgers
Barbara Tropp

1/4 cup plus 2 tsp. green onions — sliced

1/4 cup cilantro or Chinese chives — chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh gingerroot — finely minced

2 1/2 tablespoons garlic — finely minced

1/4 cup plus 1 T. soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine OR dry sherry

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons hot chili oil

1/4 cup chicken stock

3 pounds pork butt — coarsely ground

(1 part fat to 3 to 4 parts lean)

2 French baguettes — each cut crosswise — into 4 equal — portions

peanut oil

Dijon mustard

In a large bowl, combine the green onion, cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, salt, pepper, chile oil, and stock and mix well. Add the pork and stir in one direction with your hands or a large spoon just until the mixture can be thoroughly blended. Do not overcook the meat. (At this point the mixture can be sealed airtight and refrigerated overnight. The flavors will actually enlarge. Bring to room temperature before cooking.)
Handling the meat mixture as little as possible to avoid compacting it, divide it into 8 equal portions nd form the portions into rectangles to fir the bread. Brush a heavy skillet with a film of oil. Remember that the pork will render some of its own fat, so you’ll need only minimal oil for cooking. Place the pan over high heat and heat it as hot as possible. Add the patties and sear, turning once, until well browned on both sides. Reduce the heat and cook until done to your preference.

Cut the French bread lengthwise and spread the cut surfaces of the baguette portions with mustard and enclose the patties inside.

Serves 8.

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