Friday, November 19, 2010

Schmanksgiving Eggrolls

It all started with an idea.  Schmambs invited me over for Thanksgiving Shumai night.  At first I thought she meant her chicken shumai which she made around Thanksgiving last year and was turning it into an annual event.  Lo and behold, she had been thinking about stuffing the shumai with Thanksgiving related foods.  This put my foodie brain in high gear.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Thanksgiving foods.  For my birthday, I requested a Thanksgiving meal for my birthday dinner.  Schmambs not only obliged, but she made her bacon turkey.  But that's another story for another time.

After putting a bit of thought into it, I thought that the filling would tear the shumai wrapper since they are so delicate.  Especially since you steam them.  So I suggested putting everything in eggroll wrappers.  I first tried "Thanksgiving Eggrolls" at one of my childhood restaurants, J.J. McKay's, and ever since, have been itching to recreate them at home.  This was the perfect opportunity.  Schmambs knows how to cook.  I'm great at tasting and making suggestions.  Schmambs' hubby guest starred with ideas of his own as well as contributed by being our fry chef.

We decided to forgo the turkey this time around and substitute it with chicken since that's what was on hand.  By the time I arrived, Schmambs had already started the process and was cooking the chicken in a skillet on the stove.

Now what to stuff them with?  Well, at Thanksgiving, it is traditional to have stuffing.  And typically, the stuffing would have celery.  We thought that the celery would give the eggrolls a bit of texture.  Originally we had planned on using green beans, but then thought they might be too crunchy (and Schmambs' hubby is not a big fan) so we changed over to celery.  It turned out to be a good call.


And of course, you can't forget the mashed potatoes.  I'll admit, we cheated (due to time constraints - a 5 year old has to eat, doesn't she?!) and used instant mashed potatoes.  Gross, right?  Well, it turned out to not be as bad as we had anticipated.  Schmambs always spoils us by making mashed potatoes from scratch.  Maybe next time.  The lumps in homemade potatoes could also give a little more texture, not that the eggrolls needed any more.  But it's a thought.  

Then came the fun part.  Getting the oil ready for the frying process and rolling the eggrolls!  I know I posted a picture of a cast iron skillet filled with oil and once you've seen one, you've seen them all, but let's just sit back for a second and enjoy all the deliciousness the oil makes food. 
  Or you could just feel sick seeing that amount of oil in one place and if that's the case, I apologize.  I am one of those that believes anything fried has to be good.  Schmambs took the lead and started putting together the first eggroll.  

Chopped chicken, mashed Potatoes, stuffing, and celery
in one happy wrapper.

Not bad for the first one, right?

Before long, we had our test batch ready to be fried.  

The suggested time for frying was 2-3 minutes.  We found that it only took about a minute to a minute and a half.  These fry fast!  And all that really needed to be fried was the eggroll wrapper.  All the ingredients in the filler had been pre-cooked.  As you can tell, the test batch came out a little burnt...

Eventually we got it right and we had a plate overflowing with golden delicious goodness.

Most places that I have eaten some sort of Thanksgiving food combo has included the cranberry sauce in the item.  We decided to be a little creative and drizzle the cranberry sauce over the eggrolls.  We cheated on this one too and used cranberry sauce from the can.  But don't worry, we didn't use it straight from the can.  We heated it up in a saucepan in an effort to get it to a semi-liquid form.  However, that didn't seem to work and we just had heated up cranberry sauce that wasn't shaped like a can.  But it did the trick.  I ended up making an eggroll with the cranberry sauce inside and I think next time we might make a few tweaks and put the cranberry inside.  But for our first go at it, the drizzle seemed like a good idea.  And of course, what is Thanksgiving without gravy?!  We used it as a dipping sauce as is used at J.J.McKay's and D'Angelo's Thanksgiving Toasted Sandwich.  Our final product was something to be proud of and it was super yummu.  

Schmanksgiving Eggrolls:

* ~ 1 lb of turkey (chicken if desired)
* 1 box of stuffing
* 2 - 4 servings of mashed potatoes
* 2 celery stalks chopped up
* i package eggroll wrappers
* 1 - 2 egg yolk
* 3-4 cups oil for frying

Cut chicken or turkey into bite-sized pieces and cook in a skillet.  Season with salt and pepper (optional).  Once meat is cooked, chop finely and place aside.  Cook stuffing as directed on box.  You can also prepare homemade according to your own recipe.  Place aside.  Chop up celery and place aside.  You can mix it into the stuffing or add it with the filling separately.  Prepare the mashed potatoes according to the box (if using instant) or according to your own recipe for homemade.  Place aside.  Separate egg yolks to use as a sealant on the eggrolls.  Place aside.  

Once all ingredients are prepared, place eggroll wrapper so that it looks like a diamond.  One of the points should be pointed towards your body.  The wrapper packaging should have instructions on how to roll the wrapper into an eggroll.  If you reference one of the pictures above, you will see how the filling should look in the wrapper.  Roll the wrapper over the filling once and then bring the sides in before rolling again.  Save a bit at the tip so you can brush the egg yolk to provide and adhesive.  Finish rolling.  

Wait until oil reaches about 350 degrees before dropping eggrolls in.  Each side should take about 30 - 45 seconds.  Make sure to monitor them as they will burn quickly.  Place on a paper towel to drain.  Drizzle cranberry sauce over eggrolls before serving with a side of gravy.

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