Ginger-Infused Elk Won Tons with Roasted Jalapeno Syrup
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
As hunters (and gatherers), we have a very unique sensation that is not part of the mainstream consumer mindset. It’s the satisfying feeling you get by providing sustenance for your family and friends. It’s tough to describe, yet it has very deep-seated social significance. It’s a source of pride, confidence and satisfaction for the hunter. Supermarket browsers can't conceive of the effort it takes to hunt and kill an animal and prepare it for the table.
I recently held one of the many wild game fundraiser dinners I do each year, this time to benefit terminally ill children. The non-stop “grazing” menu offered a menagerie of flavors, textures, ethnic styles and unique presentations, all the while using wild game.
Although hors d’oeuvres can be somewhat time consuming, it’s a great way to show off your freezer full of success. The Elk Won Ton recipe below was included on that menu.
Makes 35-40 Won Tons
Won Ton filling:
1 lb ground elk meat (drained in a colander overnight)
2 egg whites
¼-inch length grated fresh ginger*
1 tsp minced garlic
1-bunch scallion whites (preserve greens for dipping sauce)
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
½-bunch cilantro, chopped thin
2 tbsp low sodium soy
Pinch ground white pepper
1 tbsp corn starch
Won Ton skins:
1 pack of won ton wrappers
1 egg white with a splash of cold water
Oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients for the won ton filling. Lay out won ton skins 8-10 at a time. Take the egg whites and water and whisk briskly. Brush the egg whites on the border of the wrappers. Place one tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrappers and fold to seal along the edges. Take the two left/right edges and fold them to join each other, forming what looks like the Pope’s hat. Lay the finished won tons on a paper‑towel-lined sheet pan until all are finished. Cover with a towel to prevent from drying out.
To cook, heat frying oil to 330 F°. Fry 6 won tons at a time, until golden brown, then place on the paper-towel-lined pan. Serve with the dipping sauce below or your favorite Asian style sauce.
Roasted Jalapeno Dipping Syrup
6 fire-roasted jalapenos (blistered over an open fire, skin and seeds removed), diced small
2 cups water
1½ cups sugar
Lemon peel from 2 lemons
½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp fresh garlic
Salt to taste
1⁄2 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
Place the sugar, water, lemon juice, peel, garlic and ginger in a stainless-steel pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, add diced jalapenos and simmer for another 30 minutes on low. Add the salt to taste. Remove from the fire and allow the syrup to cool. Add the chopped cilantro when the syrup has cooled. This type of sauce can be stored for weeks in the refrigerator.
While it may look complicated, this is a very simple dish to prepare. You don’t have to tell your guests that, though.
* Handy Tip: store ginger in the freezer. Grating frozen ginger eliminates annoying, stringy fibers of fresh ginger.
John McGannon is a RMEF life member, host of wild game cooking seminars at Elk Camp and owner of WildEats Enterprises.