Friday, May 15, 2009

Pork and Dill Stuffed Nettle Rolls in Broth

This recipe was inspired by my friend Mike Klaport, a serious food explorer living in Vietnam. He always wants to stuff everything. One of his crazy ideas (stuffing little leaves?!?) inspired this soup- pork swaddled with delicate nettle leaves, flavored with fish sauce and dill, and floating in perfect chicken broth. These days I can’t seem to stay away from dill-it just seems to make almost everything taste better. For the nettles- you need large to medium sized leaves but I suggest just cooking mixed size leaves and then separating out the bigger ones.

Pork filling:
1 lb ground Pork
3 T dill, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy
1 Tbsp sake or sherry wine
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1/3 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground

about 1/3 lb nettles
2 qt Super Easy Asian Chicken Broth (see below)
1 tsp each fish and soy sauce

Mix together pork filling ingredients. Set aside while you prepare nettles. Bring large pot of water to a boil and blanch nettles for 1-2 minutes, remove nettles with and cool in an ice water bath. Save nettle water for another use. Remove nettles from ice water and gently squeeze dry. Sort through leaves and separate large and medium sized whole leaves to use as meat wrappers. Lay out a leaf and place a small spoonful of meat filling on top. Roll nettle around meat into a cylinder shape with open ends. Continue and fill leaves until filling is all used.

If you run out of bigger leaves to use as a wrap just chop some nettles and add to rest of filling and form into meatballs to eat in soup, or pan fry patties to eat separately. Use remaining small nettle leaves for another use. Bring broth to a boil with fish and soy sauce. Taste and adjust salt. Carefully add nettle rolls, adjust heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes or until done.

Serves four to six.

Super Easy Asian Chicken Broth plus white-cooked chicken
The tastiest most chicken-y light broth. Clear in color and clean taste- perfect for any Asian soup. This is kind of a funny broth recipe because the by-product is perfectly cooked Chinese style moist chicken(called white-cooked), but who’s complaining? Serve cold white-cooked chicken with any Asian dipping sauce. My favorite sauce is chopped scallions, ginger, vegetable and sesame oils, salt.

1 whole chicken, or bone-in chicken quarters(thighs or breasts), 3.5 to 4.5 lbs
4 scallions
4 slices ginger, 1/8 inch thick
a few cilantro sprigs, optional
2 T salt
3 1/2 quarts of water

Rinse Chicken. In a large pot with lid bring water to a boil with remaining ingredients. When water boils add chicken, cover and bring back to a boil. Turn down to low and keep at a simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for one hour for whole chicken, 40 minutes for pieces. Do not remove lid. Remove chicken with tongs and strain broth. If using whole chicken remove very carefully with tongs placed in the chicken cavity, letting liquid drain. Try not to puncture or tear skin. If serving cold place chicken in ice water bath for ten minutes to firm skin and flesh. Remove and cool in fridge at least one hour. Strain broth through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, skim off fat.

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