Lamb & Chive Wontons Recipe

This savory surprise has a spring flavor with fresh garlic chives, green scallions, and locally sourced lamb: no game here, just fresh, smoky goodness.

Words by Ashley Bowling   Photos by Eric Morales

Chef de Cuisine, Nick Belloni, and Sous Chef, Gio Rivera, serve up pre-fixe dining under the stars at Eden East. “They’re the first chef de cuisine and sous chef duo that [Chef Sonya Coté] has given a lot of creative freedom to, which says a lot about their skill and her trust in them,” admits Kaycee Braden, manager at Eden East.

Chef Gio muses as he comes to work each day, “I’m actually cooking on a farm.” He says, “There is nothing like it—being in the open air with all the windows.” Not many people in this industry get such a luxury. The only drawback or bonus (depending on how you look at it) is working with nature. They only use the freshest of ingredients, and when the onions are no longer budding, the menu has to change. Nick adds, “We are limited by what’s in season.” However, it’s not seen to the chefs as a crutch but a blessing. It’s what sets them apart.

Going to buy the produce defeats the purpose of being a farm-to-table restaurant. Nick says, “We try to let the seasonality be our limitation instead of defining ourselves as a certain type of cuisine.” Kaycee adds, “That’s always been kind of a fun, playful thing around here.  A vegetarian ends up wanting to eat the meat, and a meat-eater ends up wanting to try new vegetables. This is the perfect place for someone who wouldn’t normally eat something to come and try something new because our proteins [and produce] are sourced responsibly.”

lamb bonito

Nick sources lamb kidney from Farmer Jeff at IO Ranch. Jeff brings the freshest of meats to market on Wednesday at Boggy Creek. If you know what you need, feel free to call ahead, and they’ll be sure to bring your specifics to market for you.

If the gamy flavor of bonito is not your style, Nick suggests skipping to the lamb & chive wonton recipe and serving them up with a spicy sriracha or a carrot and habanero salsa. If you’re up for trying something new, read on.

Cure kidney in salt for 24 hours. Rinse and dry on rack in refrigerator for 7 days. Then smoke for 4 hours at 225 degrees. Next dehydrate at 155 degrees for 48 hours. This sounds like a long process, but these tasty little nuggets will save in a jar for many months and can be used for a quick stock. Also this is a wonderful source of minerals and has a great place in a nutrient dense diet.

lamb tsukemen {sauce}

Yields: 2 quarts

1 onion (halved, smoked over several hours, then chopped)
8 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 c. Shitake mushrooms (chopped)
1 pc. Konbu (4”x4” dried seaweed)
1 T. Miso paste
1 qt. water
2 T. tamari
2 c. lamb bonito (2 kidneys; microplaned or shaved)
1 T. olive oil

Combine onion, mushrooms, and oil in pan and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more. Then add water, konbu, miso paste, tamari, bonito and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Remove konbu and finely puree sauce in blender once cooled.

lamb & chive wontons

Yields:  50 wontons

Filling:
2 lbs. IO Ranch lamb (ground)
1 bunch of Springdale scallions (chopped)
1 bunch of Springdale Farm garlic chives (chopped)
2 T. garlic cloves (minced)
3 T. ginger (minced)
4 T. tamari
1 t. salt
2 t. white pepper

Wrap:
1 pkg wonton wrappers
2 eggs (beaten—use for binding)
2 qts. oil for frying

Garnish:
Cilantro
Chives
Salsa or Sriracha

Heat cooking oil to 325o in a deep dish frying pan. Combine all wonton filling ingredients in bowl and mix thoroughly. Place one tablespoon of filling in each wonton and wrap. Apply egg with finger along edge to seal the wonton. Once wontons are wrapped, place in heated oil for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place a batch of wontons in heated oil in shifts, making sure not to overcrowd the deep dish frying pan.

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