If anyone can think of a better name than “meat purses,” post in the comments and the winner will get something special.
Let me just start by saying these little bites are about the most scrumptious little morsel you’ve ever had. The inside is salty and tangy and the outside is light and crisp. At first, I made these just to make them. It was the tail-end of the holidays, my cousin was unexpectedly stuck in town due to weather and, I really just needed to put together something quick and not too heavy.
I adapted them from a recipe in this great little periodical called Gather. The recipes are really creative and elegant, a theme that runs through this little journal from the recipes to the photographs to the writing. I had yet to recreate anything from these beautiful books so I was kind of itching to dive right in. I saw this idea for making little purses out of wonton wrappers and thought, “Oh, brilliant!”
Oh my gosh, they turned out pretty amazing. I had a lot of filling and wrappers left over (since I was just too tired and over it to cook all of them up) so I made them again to bring to a New Year’s Eve party and my goodness; were they ever the bell of the ball. They were gone so fast that a future girl’s night was requested specifically to make these again because nobody seemed to be able to snag more than one or two before they disappeared.
Having said all that, there are a few recipe notes. First, the filling and folding process is a little bit arduous, to say the least. If you’re making them all at once, plan on about a half hour of filling and folding. I tried these two different ways – one with egg wash on the outside, and one with a little oil on the outside. Both options will make the wontons golden brown and crispy. I found that using oil instead of the egg wash helped keep them crispy even after they cooled, were tupperwared, and transported. The ones made with the egg wash definitely got a little more stale-like the longer they sat. Having said that, it’s much easier to not even mess with the oil and dip the purses in the egg wash once filled, so if you’re planning on eating them more or less right away that would be the way to go.
Should you decide to go with oil, which was decidedly better in an “eat later” scenario, brushing each purse with the egg wash to seal (which is necessary no matter what you use on the outside) and then with oil on the outside is kind of a lot to do. What I did was coat a plate with a thin layer of oil then laid out as many wontons as would fit on it (for me it was 5), then filled, egg washed the edges, pressed to seal and the outsides were already coated in the oil from laying on the plate.
Spicy Meat Purses
- 1lb ground venison
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Large shallot (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- zest of one lemon
- 2oz sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil, finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup Harissa
- 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro (plus more whole leaves for garnish if desired)
- 1 packet wonton wrappers (about 40-50)
- 1 egg yolk mixed with a little water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (if desired instead of the egg wash)
|Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft and shallots are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ground venison along with the anchovy paste and lemon zest and cook until the meat is browned. Take off the heat and let cool.|
|Once the meat mixture has cooled, preheat the oven to 400 F and spray a foil-lined baking sheet with pan spray. Mix the harissa, feta, chopped parsley and sun-dried tomatoes into the meat mixture. To stuff the purses, put one tablespoon of meat mixture into a wonton and coat 2 opposite edges with the egg wash. Fold in half, pressing the sides to seal and leaving the top open, and slightly pushing the sides in so they will sit upright on the pan. Brush the outside with either more egg wash or olive oil.|
|Once all the purses have been filled, bake at 400 F for about 8-10 minutes, or until the wontons are golden brown and crispy.|
Non-game substitution: Ground beef or even ground chicken would be lovely in here.
Vegetarian substitution: Instead of ground meat, you can use chopped red bell pepper (which was in the original recipe – just lightly cook it up with the shallots) and/or chopped artichokes.