Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rosie Makes Pork And Greens Soup.

 I went out to the garden and picked a mess o' greens the other morning.
Freezing temperatures and snow were predicted,
so I wanted to use up what I could
in case my greens didn't make it through the cold.
 I have ruby red chard, Swiss chard,  turnip greens, and kale.
What to do?

Got it.
I'm making soup.
Perfect for a cold winter day.

 Pork and Greens Soup
1 pork loin, shaved while still frozen
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, chopped
1/2 TB peanut oil
1/2 TB unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 quart chicken consommé
If you don't have consommé, use a low-sodium chicken broth.
about 4 cups torn greens - kale, chard, turnip greens
2 TB soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
rice noodles
scallions, sliced

While the pork loin is still slightly frozen, thinly slice the meat.  Mix pork with minced garlic, finely grated ginger, crushed Szechuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and chopped cumin seeds.  Toss to coat.

If you don't like it spicy, you can cut back on the peppercorns and red pepper, but I like spicy.

Heat oil and butter and add in pork.  Stir fry for a minute or two.  Add heated consommé and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes.

Add soy sauce, fish sauce, and greens.  Cook until greens are tender, about 8 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain.
Ladle soup over noodles and top with scallions.

 Use a rolling pin to crush the Szechuan peppercorns.

 Before you slice any meat, look at the grain.
You want to cut across the grain.
If you look at the meat, 
you'll notice tiny lines running across it.
This is the grain.
Hold your knife crosswise to the grain and slice.

Why do we cut against the grain?
We cut against the grain to get a tender cut of meat.
Meat is a muscle - a long, stringy muscle.
You don't want to eat long, stringy bites of meat.
By cutting against the grain of the muscle,
you get a bunch of tiny fibers, instead of one long one.
Hence, you get a tender cut.

 Action shot!

 Shaved pork with red pepper flakes, cumin seeds,
Szechuan peppercorns, minced garlic, and grated ginger.

 Toss with hands to evenly coat the spice mixture.
 My quart of homemade chicken consommé is melting.
For instructions on making your own consommé,
here's one of my posts about it.
And if you've never made your own consommé,
you owe it to yourself to do it.

Making consommé involves a transformation
from a cloudy stock full of particulate matter
even after being strained through several layers of cheesecloth
to this:
a clarified, glistening, jewel-like liquid
 which is not only beautiful to look at,
but has acquired a subtle refinement of taste.

 I ribbed any ribs that needed ribbing from the greens,
and then coarsely chopped them.
 Stir fry over medium high heat for a minute or two.

 Pour  heated consommé over pork.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and let it cook about 10 minutes.

 Add in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

 A teaspoon of fish sauce.

 And add in torn greens.

 Slow simmer until greens are tender,
about 8 minutes.
  Taste test and season 
with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, if needed.

 Tong noodles into bowl.
Ladle soup over noodles.
 And place on a lovely linen your daughter gave you for Christmas.

 Start shooting pictures.
 Until you realize you forgot to add in the scallions.

 Sadly, these are the last of my scallions in my deck planter.

Oh my.
What a nice soup!

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