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News / Life / Food

Wonton soup wards off season’s chill

By Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Published: November 15, 2023, 6:05am

Now that the weather’s turning colder, I’ve been seeing a lot of great-looking soup recipes on my social media feeds.

Coming off a cold and rainy week, I can’t help but want to jump on the liquid nourishment bandwagon. There’s something so instantly heartwarming and wonderfully satisfying about a bowl of hot soup on a dismal day in late fall, or any time, really, when you need a comforting pick-me-up.

This super-easy, nutritious and intensely flavored soup made with fresh wontons was inspired by a recipe for Pork Meatball Soup on Cook’s Country Instagram feed. It’s packed with fresh, aromatic ginger, which is thought to increase serotonin and dopamine levels, and there’s also a lovely kick from one of my all-time favorite condiments, chili crisp. Because they’re simmered in broth instead of fried in oil, the meatballs are super-tender, with a silky, melt-in-your mouth texture.

If a prep time of less than a half-hour isn’t a big enough seller — no folding or crimping of wontons is required, just slicing into strips — think about that wonderful aroma filling your kitchen. It’s incredibly inviting.

If you’re using baby spinach, there’s no need to trim the stem or chop it but you may want to give full-grown spinach leaves a rough chop after washing.

The original recipe called for baby bok choy — I’m not a fan — so I substituted baby spinach. If you don’t have wonton wrappers (you’ll find them in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle, next to tofu), substitute any wide egg noodle and adjust the cooking time. You also could swap ground chicken or turkey for the pork, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken.

Deconstructed Wonton Soup

Serves 4. Adapted from americastestkitchen.com

1 pound ground pork

1 bunch scallions, whites minced and green parts sliced very thin

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 inch fresh ginger, minced, divided

1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 heaping tablespoon chili crisp, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, or more if needed

2 32-ounce boxed chicken broth, or homemade

8 ounces wonton wrappers, each cut into thirds

8 ounces baby or regular spinach leaves, long stems removed

Combine pork, scallion whites, egg, half the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili crisp, salt and panko bread crumbs in a large bowl. If the mixture seems too wet, add a little more breadcrumbs.

Form mixture into small (1-inch) meatballs, and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should get about 30-35 meatballs. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Bring broth and remaining ginger to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Stir in wonton wrappers, a few at a time so they don’t stick together. Carefully add meatballs to broth and reduce heat to a gentle boil; cover and cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. (They should be fork-tender, but still firm and not at all soggy.)

Stir in spinach leaves and when wilted (about 1 minute), add scallion greens and gently stir to combine.

Season to taste with salt, and then serve in warmed bowls.