Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Butternut Squash Pot Stickers

I definitely have culinary comfort zones. What, you ask, is a culinary comfort zone? It's confidence in the kitchen, but only when dealing with variations of the recipes you grew up with. For me, that means a plate that echos the "starch, protein, vegetable" model. While I've come a long way from the diet that raised me, I still stubbornly cling to those old ideals. The only difference is that now, my protein is plant-based, my vegetables no longer come from a can, and my starch is more varied than white bread. 

Still, old habits are hard to break and it was with trepidation that I approached the butternut squash which had been sitting on my counter for well over a month. (I bought it at the same time I scored my acorn squash, if that helps to put things into perspective!) I was, however, armed with a recipe by the one and only Martha Stewart, knowing full well that if she couldn't help me conquer my squash, no one could. I am proud to say that I not only enjoyed my little butternut, but I did so using a recipe completely different from anything I've ever cooked before. And y'all - it was good! Take that, culinary comfort zone!  

Butternut squash, diced to 1/2 inch thick. 

Filling the wonton wrappers with the (delicious!) squash, green onion and ginger mixture.

Pot stickers, stuffed and ready to sit in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before frying.

While I've had pot stickers in restaurants, I've never prepared them at home. They were surprisingly easy to make! This recipe takes about an hour to come together, but a lot of the time is inactive, which gave me a chance to clean the kitchen while I cooked. Instead of a non-stick skillet, I fried the pot stickers in my cast iron pan. The last batch started to stick to the pan and a few of them fell apart, but they were still delicious. And while I considered baking these instead of frying them, I finally decided to just go all the way. It was the right choice. Sometimes a girl's just got to fry.

Butternut Squash Pot Stickers  
from marthastewart.com

You will need: 
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded, flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
20 wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup canola oil

Put squash, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until squash is very soft, about 12 minutes; drain. Transfer to a medium bowl; mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in scallions and ginger. Stir together sesame seeds, 1/4 cup water, and remaining 1/2 cup soy sauce in a bowl; set sauce aside.

Place 1 scant tablespoon filling in the center of each wrapper; brush edges with water. Bring up corners to make a triangle; press to seal. Place on a baking sheet; freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add 10 potstickers, and cook, shaking pan frequently, until bottoms are golden brown. Turn pot stickers over; very carefully pour in 1/2 cup water, and cover. Steam until most liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish; cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and pot stickers. Serve with dipping sauce.

So sticky! So good! So easy! Enjoy!