I miss crunchy foods. Tacos, egg rolls, and other crunchy foods are my weakness. Since going paleo crunchy foods have been lacking. Sure there is bacon and pork rinds. This past week I’ve been kicking around a recipe for paleo egg rolls. When I went to research this I only found one recipe. It was a deconstructed one, consequently that means no crunch. That recipe is re-blogged all over the net. Mine is truly (IMHO) innovative. Mine has crunch, flavor and is 100% Paleo. Read on and I’ll show you how to make paleo egg rolls.
Paleo Egg Rolls
We will work from the outside in. First for me to call this recipe any kind of success it had to have a crunch. While day dreaming up different paleo foods to add a crunch I hit upon an idea. Many years ago when doing Atkins I removed the skins from some chickens and fried them. Much like pork skins they crisped up. Chicken skins are easy to get and easy to work with. As a result of being so thin they make great egg roll wrappers. At least that was my hypothesis. Now we have a crunchy wrapper medium its time to make the stuffing.
Inside the crunch
I looked at several egg roll recipes and finally decided to simplify a few into one. What you will need to make the Paleo Egg Rolls stuffing is:
- Ground pork 1 LB
- Ground ginger 1 TBSP
- Garlic 1 TBSP
- 2 carrots*
- 4 green onions*
- Chicken Skin
- Bacon fat or coconut oil
*Carrots and green onions to preference. More if you want it or less.
There’s a reason I hate baking. First of all baking requires precision. Measure, weigh and time everything. For 99% of my cooking I freestyle it. Hence I love to experiment in the kitchen fearlessly. What’s my success rate you say? I’d say high. 80% finger licking good, 10% edible and 10% goes straight into the trash without passing go or collecting $200. Those are odds I can deal with. Basically I’m saying to feel free to play with the paleo egg roll recipe. I didn’t measure so can’t give exact measurements.
Chop the Veg
To start I peeled the carrots and gave them a rough chop. Same with the cabbage. I used red cabbage because that’s just what I had. Wash and chop the ends off the green onions. Put all that into a food processor and chop it fine. Set aside and move on to the meat.
Brown the pork and render the bacon
Add your ground pork to a skillet on medium heat. In another skillet I added chopped up bacon. I chopped three pieces of thick cut bacon and and cooked on medium low heat. When rendering bacon try to get as much fat out as possible. I let it cook longer than normal. The bacon pieces will get dark but you will get a skillet full of wonderful bacon fat. It’s this fat we will fry the Paleo Egg Rolls in.
Now back to the ground pork. Once browned I added the ground ginger and garlic powder. To get a good mixture I added a splash of water to the pork. I let it continue to cook for a few minutes so there was no water left. Remove the pork from the skillet and add to a bowl to mix in and set aside.
Cook the Veg
I added 2 TBSP of coconut oil to the ground pork skillet to cook the diced veggies in. To this mixture I added a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes. We still want the cabbage slightly crisp. Cooking this mixture smells amazing. The apartment smells like egg roll goodness. Once softened add to the bowl of ground pork and combine.
I bought chicken thighs for my skin wrap. I found that just pulling the skin off was the easiest. The only drawback was the skins are small. You can’t fit much into the skin while trying to wrap them. I added a TBSP of the Paleo Egg Rolls mixture to the center of a skin, rolled one side over and tucked it under the mixture. Fold the ends into the center and roll the skin over on the other side. This is a tricky process and I really only had one pretty wrap. If it wont roll remove some filling until it does.
Due to the wrapping issues a whole chicken would be better in hindsight.
I thought about using toothpicks or poultry twine to tie the rolls shut. Instead I carefully placed the rolls into the bacon fat with the open crease down. Leave it down until golden brown and crispy. This will keep it closed when turning it over to fry the top. On a few the rolls were not rolled tight enough they opened up. So remember roll tight. You will want to roll the wrap on both sides. Also use a spoon or spatula to baste oil on the sides to get even cooking. Once Golden brown on all sides remove and place on paper towels or a cooling rack to cool.
Consequently the paleo egg rolls that stayed together looked amazing. It was almost like I was looking at regular egg rolls. I also spooned some of the veg/pork mixture on the plate. The paleo egg rolls had crunch. So It was a success on that front. The mixture tasted and smelled just like an egg roll.
While I will admit the chicken skin did not taste like an egg roll wrapper. Nope it did not taste at all like greasy cardboard. Rather it had a wonderful rich chicken flavor combining with the bacon fat and filling. To complete the taste I used Temari, which is gluten-free soy sauce. Since they turned out so great I devoured the paleo egg rolls and a serving of just the mixture.
Since making these I can see why no one else has made them. Using the chicken skins as wrappers is a pain in the ass. A pain with a big pay off though. Changes I would make in the future are as follows. Buy a whole chicken and remove the skin from it. Cut the skin into uniform wraps, bigger than the ones from thighs. Since my rolls were small and hard to work with. Hence bigger paleo egg rolls with more filling would be easier to roll.
Finally I don’t think Paleo Egg Rolls are the centerpiece of a meal. While they are delicious they are also time consuming. Total time for the four I made was about an hour from dicing to eating. So try making Paleo Egg Rolls with 1 roll per person and filling as a main course. The filling is delicious by itself and not as much work. So the filling could be an easy go to meal and the paleo egg rolls an occasional dish.
Furthermore it’s one more item to add to the paleo crunch tool box.
Want a paleo crunch? Like trying new things? Have any improvements? Let me know in the comments!
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