Yesterday morning I laid out some frozen chicken to prepare for supper. I didn't know what to fix yet, but there it was, at 7:00 pm, thawed, on the counter. This wasn't ordinary grocery-store chicken, but one of the unlucky roosters that were a product of my "I-want-to-incubate-eggs" experiment. That experiment yielded more roosters than laying hens, so from now on I'll leave the incubating to the professionals and just purchase newly hatched girls.
So far my experience with these roosters is that they are TOUGH and the last couple of times I cooked one it was an all day thing in the crock pot and they turned out to be chicken and dumplings. Even after cooking it all day long the breast meat just got bigger and bigger the more it was chewed! So, my mind got out of the chicken-and-dumpling pot and spied the handy-dandy grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. There was some Chinese cabbage from the garden in the crisper, along with carrots harvested several weeks ago. I'll share the recipe(s) I prepared, but the story is more about the wrappers themselves.
I don't eat out often, but when I do I like to eat things that I don't normally prepare at home. Vietnamese food isn't something I make very often, but I had a dish once with the rice noodles and spring rolls that was delicious, so that's my inspiration for supper. I bought a package of spring roll wrappers a while back and have been wanting to use them--here's my chance!
At 7:00 pm I ground the chicken and put it in a skillet with diced onion and some minced garlic (yes, I use the stuff in the jar), soy sauce and pepper. I cut shreds of the cabbage and put it in the pan long enough to wilt, then I took out enough of this mixture to make a few spring rolls. I added chunks of onion, celery, carrot sticks and bigger slices of the Chinese cabbage to the pan of chicken.
I started a pot of water boiling to cook the rice noodles and pulled the spring roll wrappers out of the pantry. Nice package.....
Once I got it open I couldn't decide what was packaging and what was the actual wrapper. They were stiff and had embossed marks on them like an inner cover in a can or something. See what I mean?
Okay, no instructions on the package so I go to the computer. "Immerse in warm water for up to 30 seconds to soften" and then wrap your ingredients. I've got the pot of hot water ready for rice noodles, so that seems easy enough. I carefully dip the stiff wrapper into hot water so I don't burn myself and Voila! It turns into something similar to wet plastic wrap and is folded up into a wad. Okay, maybe the water is too hot. I took a dinner plate and ran warm water from the faucet into a thin layer and laid a wrapper in the water for about 30 seconds and it softened up miraculously so I could roll up the ground chicken mixture and make a spring roll. I fried them in a little oil and ate the rice noodles with the chunky mixture left in the pan. At 8:15 I was cleaning up the dishes--see, it doesn't take that long to prepare fresh food INCLUDING grinding your own meat!
Of course this wasn't quite as tasty as the Vietnamese dish I had in a restaurant with my best friend, but I was in my jammies in my house ......that means a lot on a cold wintry night!