First, let me start with two apologies. I am so sorry it has been three months since my last update (with one very small exception: in July I added a summer shot of the field by our house; now the homepage cycles between all four seasons, and that makes me smile). Now, on to the second apology—I'm sorry that I don't have an airtight excuse for letting so much time slip through my fingers. But I do have a handful of lesser excuses. My two youngest sons were home for a good chunk of the summer (one home after his third year of college, the other after completing his first year as a teacher), and I've been busy cooking big family dinners every evening. Summer is for enjoying leisurely meals on the porch, with time to talk and just be together with my family, so sadly I let my blogging slide. I also spent some time in New Jersey with my sister, my oldest son, and some extended family (nieces, a nephew, and my brother in-law), where I enjoyed a good chunk of my summer. They happily surrendered the kitchen to me, and we usually played games after dinner, so needless to say I was blissfully busy. Not to mention the family vacation on the South Jersey shore with—miraculously—all four of my boys, or the invasive plant that I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to eliminate from our property every spring (I'm talking about you, garlic mustard!). I think you get the idea... I am easily distracted. But lest you think all of my distractions were welcome and happy, sadly they were not. My father died in the spring. Although he was very old and very difficult, closing a chapter of one's life is always an adjustment.
Now, on to the potstickers. If you know me, you know that I'm not one for shortcuts. I'm more of an enjoy-the-journey type of cook. But as much as I love making homemade dough, I do honestly believe potstickers are great and so much easier with purchased wonton wrappers, so that's what I'm going with here. I also make my potstickers with the ground dark meat from a chicken, but ground pork is more traditional and also very delicious. I like to grind my own chicken thighs, but store-bought ground chicken is perfectly suitable.
Potstickers are a great appetizer, but my kids would eat a plateful for dinner back when they were younger and pickier. Lastly, these are great for leftovers, so don't worry about making too many. (The Italian side of me loves making more food than could ever be consumed in one sitting.)
1 package wonton wrappers
1 pound ground chicken (I recommend dark meat or a mix of dark and light; 100% white meat tends to be too dry)
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1½ tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
pinch ground black pepper
oil (olive, grapeseed, or other) for pan frying
Combine ground chicken, scallion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. Take a stack of about ten wonton wrappers and trim the corners with kitchen shears in order to round them out. I try to maximize the size (bigger size means more filling), while maintaining a roundish shape. Lay the wrappers out on the counter or a piece of parchment paper. Place a small spoonful (a little less than one tablespoon) of chicken filling in the center of each wrapper. Dipping your finger in water, run it around one half of the outer edge of the wrapper, then fold the wrapper in half and press down firmly to seal. I then like to use a dumpling mold to really seal the edges and give it a cute crimp, but this step isn't necessary (and I don't always do it). Don't attempt to make pleats in the wrapper when folding (purchased wrappers don't pleat).
Heat a large skillet (one with a lid) over medium heat. Add a light coating of oil, spreading evenly over the skillet's surface. Arrange dumplings in the skillet, adding as many as fit comfortably. Pan fry until the underside is nicely browned. Don't flip them, rather pour in a few tablespoons of water and quickly cover the pan so that the dumplings steam. Cook until the water evaporates and the dumplings are cooked through. If they stick and you have trouble getting them to release from the pan add a little more water and steam until they release (they're called potstickers for a reason). Depending on the pan, you may find it works best to remove the potstickers just before all of the water evaporates. Place on a plate with browned side facing up. Serve with dipping sauce (either just soy sauce, or soy sauce with a splash of sesame oil, a squeeze of honey, and a touch of gochujang, or soy sauce with a splash of white wine and sliced scallion).