Pumpkin Potstickers

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We received a beautiful blue-gray pumpkin from our CSA a couple of weeks ago. It was lovely – short and squatty with a lovely hue. I was told it would be a “dry” squash which made me think it might be a good squash for using in some recipes where extra moisture is not helpful.

Since I split my share, I had half a pumpkin to myself. I roasted it in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes – until it was tender. I let it cool a bit, cut my half in half, and then scooped out the cooked flesh. It was quite dry. I tasted it and it was delicious.

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One half of what I had went into a quick squash baked mac and cheese. I used a basic recipe for a 9 x 9 inch pan and added the mashed pumpkin to the cheese sauce. I wasn’t trying to hide the pumpkin so I didn’t mash it entirely, but if you were trying to sneak it past some kids, you could really mash it until it was super smooth and would disappear into the sauce. My way, you still got a bit of squash now and then, and I also added a bit of nutmeg to actually highlight the squash and bring its flavor out. It was delicious immediately and as leftovers for a few days.

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The other half of my pumpkin went into postickers.

The filling is relatively simple even though it’s quite a few ingredients:

  • a little less than 1/4 c. onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • about 2 tablespoons ginger
  • one carrot

I chopped this up in my food processor and then added by hand (stirring, not processing):

  • the cooked pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • ½ pound ground pork (plain, not sausage)
  • 5 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • a few drops of hot chili oil

The egg and cornstarch help to deal with the moisture that is produced by the vegetables and the pork. It’s not a lot, but it helps the texture a lot.

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It works best with round wonton wrappers since you pinch them like pie crust as you close them and they become the classic crescent moon shape. I couldn’t find them and got lazy so I just used the square ones. I tried curving some of them in a tortellini shape so they’d stand up in the pan for the starting process of the cooking. For the rest, I just made them as triangles and froze them for use later. Making potstickers takes time but is relatively simple. Lay out a layer of wonton wrappers, add a bit of filling (less is better since they seal better), and then wet two edges with water and press in your preferred way to seal. If using the round wrappers, you do a kind of pie crust pinch as you press the edges together which makes them into the pretty potsticker or gyoza shape. Like I said, looking back I wish I would have taken the time to cut my squares into rounds using a biscuit cutter.

To cook, you add a tablespoon or two of oil in a sauté pan and place the postickers on their widest edge in the pan to brown. In my case, since the shape was not the ideal shape, I actually flipped them over to brown the other side.

Once brown, you quickly toss in a few tablespoons of water and throw on the lid. They instantly sizzle and then steam. Once most of the water has evaporated or steamed off, you remove the lid and let them get crispy again (a second frying, essentially).

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To serve, I use a simple sauce of soy sauce, a bit of white vinegar, and a few drops of hot chili oil. If I had to guess, I think it’s about 1 part vinegar to 2-3 parts soy sauce and really only a drop or two of chili oil.

They didn’t look as good as they should have, but they were still quite delicious!

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