I hope my faithful readers are still with me. My first post back from "vacation" is big one, so grab a drink and sit down! I am gonna share the recipe my world famous
The reason I made them is that DH finally complained, after 9 years of marriage, that I have never made a batch just for him. I always make them for get-togethers and pot lucks, and have even been paid to make them for other people's parties, but I had apparently, never made a batch for just him to enjoy!
The name "Maine Maple Sausage" may be a bit deceiving since I usually use Jimmy Dean Maple sausage to make things easier, but in a pinch I have added a hint of real Maine maple syrup to sage or Italian sausage to make these egg rolls. Plus they are made in my kitchen which is located in Maine...yeah...
A bit about how this recipe came to be: One of my childhood friends (and next door neighbor) came from a Cambodian family. Her family came to the U.S. in the early 80's when she was 4-years-old. They were being resettled from the refugee camp in Thailand where she was born. Her family had fled, on foot, through the jungles of Cambodia to escape the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime that took over during the late 70's. Anyway, I was blessed enough to grow up with them next door to me. My friends mom, who we all just called "Mama" spoke no English, but is the best home cook that I have met to this day.
Mama's specialty are pork spring rolls. She makes them for any and all occasions, including sending them over when someone in the family was sick or once, when I was a teenager, when our power was out and all our food went bad.
As teens, my friend and I loved to cook together, and one of the things we always aspired to do was have her mom teach us how to make egg rolls. But this was her most guarded recipe, and she refused to teach us how to make them. She would always let us fry them, and once, ONCE she let us roll them, but she would never share her filling recipe.
As a result, my friend and I set out to create our own recipe with what we had on hand in *my* mom's non-Asian kitchen on that particular day. Here is the list of ingredients we decided upon:
Package of 20 Wonton Wrappers
1 lb. Bulk Maple Breakfast Sausage
1 medium onion
1 bunch Scallions
Baby Carrots (eliminating the peeling step)
Garlic (about 3-4 cloves, crushed)
1 Egg, beaten
Seasoned Salt & Pepper to taste
About 2 quarts of canola oil fro deep frying.
Well, the recipe came out tasting better than we ever imagined it would, although completely unlike Mama's egg rolls, hahaha. I have used this egg roll recipe, unchanged, since that fateful day!
On with the recipe:
In the past I have spent a good hour dicing veggies, because the pieces have to be small enough to cook all the way during the deep frying stage of the recipe, the carrots taking the most time. Well, I guess those days are a memory as long as I am blessed with a working food processor. This was my first time making egg rolls since I've had one, and let me tell you, it took about 90 seconds total to chop the veggies (I snipped the scallions into 1/4 inch sections using kitchen shears)!!!!! Yay! There is nothing like revolutionizing a kitchen task!
The next step is to prepare the meat for the filling. Now, Mama never cooked her meat filling first, she would just trust that the deep frying would cook it through. I am just not that trusting. So, in a large non-stick skillet I add the sausage, 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic, and seasoning salt and black pepper to taste (I like well seasoned). I cook and crumble the meat until it is just BARELY done, just until the last shade of pink disappears. I don't want to over cook it because it still has to cook in the deep fryer.
Next I beat the egg and add more seasoning salt and pepper:
Then, in a large bowl, I toss the meat with the chopped veggies, and pour in the beaten, seasoned egg. I stir the mixture well to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. During rolling, you'll want to keep stiring the filling int the bowl to ensure it all stays coated with the egg mixture.
Next, I assemble all the ingredients on my rolling surface, including 1 separated egg yolk, broken into a bowl, to use for sealing the wrappers:
Rolling the egg rolls is always the hardest part of the process to explain, and really warrants a video, but since I was making them at home alone with the Little Princess underfoot I was not able to produce a video. The Princess's videography skills are still quite lacking. So I will do my best to explain it:
Begin by placing one wonton in "diamond" position in front of you, and spoon on about 2 -3 TBSP of filling in the center, but closer to the bottom point:
Bring bottom point up over filling:
And tuck bottom point down under filling on the other side:
Next, keeping the filling wrapped fairly tightly, fold in the side points, and dab a little egg yolk onto top point, then continue to roll the egg roll up into a tight cylinder and seal with egg yolk at top point:
While I am rolling the egg rolls I put the canola oil in the bottom a stainless steel dutch oven, or large flat bottomed skillet. I put it on low heat so that the oil can be slowly heating while completing the egg rolls. Raw wantons get soggy (causing ripping) FAST so it is important to have the oil pretty much ready to go when the egg rolls are done being rolled:
Test to see if the oil is up to temperature by dropping in an extra little piece of wanton or a piece of carrot. The oil should bubble GENTLY around it. If the oil bubbles too rapidly or smokes at all the temp is way too high and you will probably set off the smoke alarms and/or start a fire, lol. It is very important to constantly temper the flame when you are deep frying on a stove top. There are plenty of times when the oil is hot enough that you don't need the flame to be on at all.
Fry the egg rolls, 8-10 at a time, turning if possible, until the wontons are golden brown, remove from the oil with METAL tongs and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels:
And there you have it, my most requested recipe, serve with rice and hot pepper or sweet and sour dipping sauces! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and thanks for reading!
-Diana, The Ivy Kitchen