Regular readers should already know I’m a huge fan of Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show (and Ninja Turtles in general), but something you might not know is that I also love to cook!
Though I’ve never had the motivation to start a cooking blog (because the internet needs more of those, right?), I do love to experiment with recipes and even invent my own on occasion. I’ve never done a cooking post before, but how appropriate that my first one should be as geeky and Ninja Turtley as the recipe I’m about to show you.
That’s right kids, today I’m going to show you how to make…
One of my favorite things about the new TMNT show are all the crazy, pizza-related food concoctions they come up with (pizza milkshake!?). In the 80’s cartoon, the Ninja Turtles were all about wacky pizza toppings, but in Nick’s modern, CGI-rendered world their palates seem to be a little more sophisticated. Granted, not by much.
A one-way ticket to Flavorville!
In Season 1, Episode 8, April introduces the Turtles to Mr. Murakami, a local noodle shop owner who is blind. After a run-in with the Purple Dragon gang where the Turtles save Mr. Murakami’s life, he cooks up a hot, steamy batch of pizza gyoza (pot stickers) as a special way to thank them. For these four green guys, pizza dumplings were obviously a huge hit.
After seeing it on the show, I became obsessed with the idea of making pizza gyoza for real. I consulted with one of the coolest people I know–a fellow Ninja Turtle fan who also happens to be a great cook–and a few weekends ago the two of us came up with this recipe.
Pizza Gyoza Recipe
Gyoza & Filling Ingredients:
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 lb. mild Italian sausage, removed from casing
- 2 small sticks pepperoni, cooked to render juices & chopped
- The green stalks of 8 spring onions, sliced small
- 8 oz. shredded Mozarella cheese
- 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 pkg. Wonton wrappers
Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup pizza sauce
- 3 tsp. balsalmic vinegar
- Pepperoni juices
Step 1: Cut pepperoni up into 1/4″ cubes. Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat. Add a dime size dollop of olive oil, the pepperoni cubed and one clove of minced garlic to the pan. Lightly sauté the meat, rendering out the fat, about 5-7 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the meat and garlic, reserving the fat and oil for use in the dipping sauce. Set meat aside to cool.
Note: The pepperoni juice is to give the dipping sauce a super-charged burst of concentrated pizza flavor! You can leave it out, but I don’t recommend it.
Step 2: In a large bowl mix the sausage meat, remaining minced garlic, the cooled pepperoni, 8oz of shredded mozzarella and the sliced green onion stalks. Get your hands dirty!
Step 3: Prep a small bowl of water and lay out the wonton wrappers. Grab a small portion of the gyoza filling (about half the size of a golfball and place in the center of the wrapper. Wet your index finger and run it along the edge around the filling, halfway around the wonton. Bring the edges of the wonton up together, wrapping the meat, and pinch together the wet and dry edges, sealing the gyoza. Next, make pleats in the dough around the edges and set aside, taking care to press the dumplings down on the opposite side of the pleated edge, so the dumpling sits with pleats up.
Step 4: Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Place about 1.5 tbs of vegetable oil in the pan and move around so that it coats the pan’s surface. Place the gyoza in the pan, pleat edge up, so that they aren’t touching. Sauté Uncovered for 3 minutes until the bottoms have browned. Next, add 1/4 cup if water to the pan, taking care to use the pan lid as a shield. Quickly cover the dumplings and simmer/steam the dumplings for 2 minutes. Check the dumplings. If the filling feels firm, uncover and cook an additional 2 minutes until the water has cooked off. Remove the dumplings from the pan.
Step 5: Mix pizza sauce, balsamic vinegar, and pepperoni juices together for the dipping sauce, then serve with hot gyoza!
Note: The vinegar and pepperoni juice work together to give the pizza sauce more “pizza” flavor (versus just tasting like tomato) as well as help thin it out to resemble more of a true soy-based gyoza sauce. I tried just the pizza sauce alone, but it doesn’t taste as good. Definitely add the vinegar and pepparoni juice!
All that’s left to do now is eat and enjoy! And let me tell you, these things taste amazing. Our goal when coming up with this recipe was to make them taste as flavorful and “pizza-y” as possible. They really do taste like a fresh, hot slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza…only in dumpling format!
Better keep a close eye on your gyozas when Mikey’s around, though…