Sausage-Filled Won Tons

NewYearWonTonVertbfLOA last, meat-filled, gasp from our open house.

A LONG time ago, I tossed some stuff together, rolled it in some home made dough, and called it Buzzy’s Calzone. It was a hit – so much so that I ended up keeping at least one calzone in my freezer at most times to contribute to last minute gatherings.

Then, I came up with the idea of wrapping the meaty, cheesy filling into little pillows with won ton wrappers from the market – I also flirted with stuffing the wrappers in little, tiny muffin tins, but that became, as one friend describes them: “Won Ton Ninja Stars That Stab Your Throat” – so, maybe not.

I liked the bite-sized neatness and convenience of the won ton pillows, but many of my Boston friends (as well as Rich) are traditionalists, and prefer the calzone. Still, if I have some filling leftover, I’ll toss some of these together, freeze ‘em on a cookie sheet until firm, and tuck ‘em in the freezer (next to the cheesy olive bombs) for a quick, tasty last minute munchie. They went over well among folk who haven’t had the bread version, leaving me to think it may be like that old adage about visiting the islands: see the Vineyard FIRST, and then Nantucket, and you’ll find both charming. See Nantucket first, and THEN the Vineyard, and you’ll be disappointed with the Vineyard.

NOTE: I love both, but I am a bit more partial to Martha’s Vineyard – tho’ I can’t recall in which order I first visited.

Back to the won tons:

•1 package each, hot and sweet Italian sausages
•1 (11 oz) jar Howards Pepper Relish
This is a New England company, but partially owned by Campbell’s, so you can now find this, finest of all pepper relishes, outside of New England – I almost held a seminar extolling it’s goodness when first I spotted it on the shelves at Woodman’s. There are two varieties – hot
and sweet. Both are wonderful, but if you are looking for a truly fiery hot, look elsewhere – this is what I refer to as ‘New England Hot’ – a bit of a bite with a nice touch of sweet. I happened to have a jar of sweet on hand, so that’s what I used.
•1 (8oz) package pepper jack cheese
•1 package won ton wrappers

Decase (or, better yet, buy the bulk sausage and skip this step) and crumble the sausages into a large pan and sauté until cooked through. Drain.

Shred the pepper jack cheese and stir together with the cooked sausage and the jar of pepper relish in a large bowl.

Lay out an assembly line with the sausage mixture, a bowl of water, the won ton wrappers, and a jelly roll pan.

Place a knob of the sausage mixture in the center of a won ton. Wet the tip of a finger in the water and dab onto the wrapper edges. Fold into a neat little packet, sealing with another dab of water if needed, and arrange on the pan. Repeat until the wrappers are used up, you should end up with 50 or so.

You COULD toss these babies in a hot oven and bake until toasty – maybe 20 minutes at 350º – OR – toss the sheet into the freezer for an hour or so until solid, then tumble the tasty little packets into a freezer bag or two and pat yourself on the back for having a little sumpin’ sumpin; tasty in reserve for a quick nibble. When ready to use, cook from frozen in a hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

NOTE: Cooked from fresh or frozen, I would recommend lining your baking pan with foil, as the cheese will ooze out a bit. I used my huge non-stick roaster – and clean up was a snap.

If you have any of the sausage filling leftover, try tossing it into spaghetti sauce – YUM!

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