Category Archives: Soup

‘Udon it Again.

Because… I did a post about Udon before and…Who doesn’t love a good noodle related pun…huh?….???  Heh…Heh…

But seriously dinner was on point. A rich pork, shrimp, miso broth, with wood ears, shiitakes, straw mushrooms, scorched scallion, seared pork and shrimp dumplings I made last week in a fit of post work delerium, seared then thinly sliced fatty pork shoulder tossed in at the end & quickly seared fat scallops. 

Does someone want to gift me millions of dollars so I can fund my expensive food choices and never work again? Kay thanks, byeee! 


Hot and Sour Shortrib Udon Goodness

On this Indian Summer day, there is a beautiful blue sky against leaves clinging to their last bit of green. It is a beautiful way to say goodbye to the last bits of summer. When I think of fall, I think of hearty soups, but since it is such a warm summery day, I decided to lighten it up a bit with a nice broth-based hot and sour. We used to make something reminiscent of this at Green Zebra, but obviously with no meat. I couldn’t resist using my new cast iron to braise a couple short-ribs.

I seared them really well, leaving them to sear for a few minutes in plenty of oil in a HOT  pan. Once all sides were seared, I turned my oven on at 325. I poured out most of the oil.

Then I added some mushroom broth, a good ammount of Mae Ploy (sweet chili sauce), Sambal Olek (chili paste), and some ginger rough chopped. I didn’t fully cover the shortribs, just about half way.

I let it cook in the oven, at first covered until the meat tightened up around the bones, then uncovered until it got soft again and the sauces reduced. Somewhere in the middle, I remembered to put some sliced garlic in there too.

Once they were nice and tender, I pulled the bones out, and cooled them in the refrigerator for later slicing. I kept the bones and the liquid for making the broth.

I strained the chunks out of the broth, and then I sliced an inch long hunk of peeled ginger thinly and added them to a mesh strainer that I left hanging for the duration of the broth making process. To that, I also added one stalk of  thinly sliced lemongrass. I slice this on a bias so that there is maximum surface area to extract the flavor. I also took the stems off of about 15 shiitake mushrooms and saved the caps for finishing the broth. It is a good way to use every part of the buffalo. I also chopped the ends off of a bunch of scallions, and I saved the tops for garnishing the finished product. I also added the bones into the strainer for infusing into the broth.

At this time, I also added mushroom broth about 3/4 of the way up to the top of the pot. I brought it up to a boil, then I let it simmer covered about a half hour. I pulled out the strainer and added my mushroom caps, which I thinly sliced. I also added some pickled baby corn that I cut into one inch pieces.

I also small diced an inch nub of peeled ginger. This time, I took care to brunoise it nicely.

By the time I got all of that done, the short ribs were fully cooled. I took them out and trimmed them up, taking care to trim any weird connective tissue that was too chewy. I very thinly sliced the pieces of meat into bite sized pieces. I set them aside for later addition to the soup.

I added an entire packet of wide soba noodles to the boiling pot, stirring rapidly so they didn’t stick.

Once they were mostly cooked, I added some thinly bias cut carrots and the meat to the broth. Once the carrots were tender, I took everything off the heat and cut my other garnish.

I thinly bias-cut a jalapeño, chiffonaded cilantro, very bias cut scallion tops and a lime.

To finish the broth right before serving, I added soy sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice to taste.

In the end, I think it was the perfect way to say, “So long, Summer…..Hello Fall!” It was spicy, it was a little sweet from the Mae Ploy,  sour from the citrus and vinegar and a little salty from the soy sauce. The mushrooms added the perfect ammout of umami to really kick up the meatyness of the short ribs. The ribs were amazingly tender and had the perfect ammount of fat to have delicious flavor. What a great thing to have waiting for you when you come home  on a warm fall afternoon. 


Today I made stock in preparation for making molé really soon. I wanted to bust the whole thing out, but I forgot to buy enough lard (yes, lard). I know that in the past I have used a packaged stock, but in this case I really wanted to do it right, seeing as how I want it to be really perfect. I think that it is important to say that stock super easy to make if you are bored, and/or have a half eaten chicken and some mirepoix vegetables lying around. Since I was making this for Mexican food, I sort of planned for this. I bought a rotisserie chicken at work the other day, knowing that not only could we eat the chicken, but then I could make stock out of it’s little chickeny carcass. I  peeled and rough chopped like 5 small carrots, 4 stalks of celery and a large white onion. I spread all of these veggies on a sheet pan, and baked them in a hot oven (400 Degrees) until they shriveled and got a little caramel color. Then I put the chicken body into my stock pot with some peppercorns, allspice, coriander seeds, bayleaf, cilantro stems, a few chiles, and some garlic. Then I covered it all with cold water and brought it up to a boil. I left it simmering for about 20 minutes then turned it off and  let it sit for a half an hour before straining it and refrigerating it. I always bake my vegetables to concentrate the flavors of the vegetables. I also use aromatics to coordinate with the flavors I will be using for the dish I am using it for. I used clove, coriander and cilantro stems for this reason. Cloves play a surprising role in molé, so I made a pretty nice spicy stock, which is reminiscent of one that Ariel, my friend from Green Zebra, made by accident. She put way too much clove in and it tasted like “Christmas” stock and was almost unusable, even though it smelled really good. In this case it works well. So, probably tomorrow, I will get going on this molé, and the deliciousness will begin.

Caldo de Albondigas

This soup is total Mom fare in Mexico. It is a basic broth with beef and chorizo meatballs, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots and corn. It is served over Mexican rice. I’ll give the recipe if anyone wants it, but it is pretty simple. Just mix the meats with some of the rice (cold), an egg, minced onion and garlic, cilantro and some cumin. It is important to do all of this with all of your meatball ingredients super cold (I cooked the rice off right before I started the soup then threw a little in a bowl in the freezer to chill it fast), and when you do mix, mix as little as possible. It is sort of like overmixing cake, just enough to incorporate. Season them and brown them off before you throw them into the soup. I might have ground up some tortilla chips or something to bind them a little better if I had a second go, but they held together pretty well. It ended up tasting pretty amazing. Garnish with cilantro to top it off.20110611-053625.jpg

Pozole Rojo

Pozole is, by many Mexican’s standards, the Mexican national dish. It pre-dates Columbus by several hundred years, dating back to the Aztecs or further. One idigenous group’s creation story involves the people being formed from masa harina or corn flour. The corn was considered sacred to many during this time and since it is a good staple food, it was natural that it made it’s way into the dish. The other key component to the dish is pork or, at times, chicken, but originally, it is said, that the first meat used was human. This was a byproduct of human sacrifice. Since only the heart was offered to the gods, the bodies were offered to the people as a sort of sacred communion. These two ingredients came together with a simple broth made of stock and chile, and pozole was born. When cannibalism became taboo, it was natural to move onto the next closest thing in flavor, pork. Today, pozole varies from household to household, but there are three basic types. Pozole rojo, verde and (least commonly) pozole blanco. I prefer the heavy smokiness of a red pozole. This was my first time making it, and I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but…BEEP BEEP! Continue reading