Asian Pork Rolls with Water ChestnutsHere’s the deal with puff pastry: you’ll look like a fancy thoughtful chef when you’re really just taking mindless shortcuts. I don’t care! Thanks to that always-convenient puff pastry, the “Asian Pork Rolls with Water Chestnuts,” from the November/December 2014 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipe below), were not too fussy to prep. They were fun and tasty for everyone.

Asian Pork Rolls with Water Chestnuts
Cuisine at Home, November/December 2014
Makes 18 rolls

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 lb. ground pork
2 Tbsp. each minced fresh garlic and ginger

2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
1 can sliced water chestnuts (8 oz.), drained and chopped
1/2 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 eggs, beaten

1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed (17.3 oz.)
1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water
Toasted sesame seeds
Prepared Chinese-style mustard

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add pork, garlic, and ginger. Cook pork until browned and cooked through, crushing with a potato masher until fine; drain drippings and return pork mixture to the skillet.

Stir in soy sauce and Sriracha and heat over medium-low, 1-2 minutes. Add water chestnuts, scallions, and cilantro; when cool, stir in beaten eggs.

Preheat oven to 425°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut pastry sheets on a lightly floured work surface into thirds. Using a rolling pin, roll each third to 5-6 inches wide. Spread 1/2 cup pork mixture down center of each cut pastry sheet. Whisk together 1 egg and water. Brush edges of pastry with egg wash. Roll up and cut each into thirds; transfer to prepared baking sheets, seam side down. Brush tops of rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake rolls until light brown, 18-22 minutes. Serve rolls with Chinese mustard.

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This recipe is well-developed, with appropriate portions, pictures, and techniques (I credit Cuisine at Home for this consistent quality). Stirring the pork with the other fillings in a single skillet couldn’t be easier. I made some swaps: tomato paste instead of Sriracha, spinach instead of cilantro. No problem. The clincher with these rolls is you bake them, rather than fry. Peace of mind.

The water chestnuts bring a nice crunch to the party. And like I’ve already gushed, puff pastry brings joy. Thanks to the mustard (Chinese if you have it), these pork rolls will make you think of pretzels and hot dogs. All good.

Ground Pork (1 lb.) = $6.99
Canned Water Chestnuts (8 oz.) = $1.02
Frozen Puff Pastry (17.3 oz.) = $4.26

PREP TIME: less than 10 minutes of sauté time for the fillings, easy/quick to cut the pastry and roll it, bake for 20 minutes or so
pork + garlic + ginger = the best rock & roll band, water chestnuts bring crunch, Chinese mustard brings happiness

Next time, I will reach into the December 2014 issue of Cooking Light to make the “Golden Beet Soup with Toasted Grains” and the “Spinach and Feta Quiche with Quinoa Crust.” Really! Come back to my site next week, to see what happens.