Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Baby It's (wicked) Cold Outside!

I know it's still February and everything but geez, does it have to be so darned cold out?  So often?  Maybe I'm just getting old but I'll tell ya what's really getting old is this winter.  So since I feel that soup won't stop being the perfect dinner anytime soon I thought I'd share a recent find.  This Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Soup is a prefect weeknight meal when you are short on time or just want to get dinner over with quickly.  This is another recipe from Food & Wine (I'm such a fan!) and it was a big hit.  We had it with some homemade pot stickers (we like to keep a supply in the freezer) but the soup was quite filling on it's own. This recipe serves four people.
First cook a 1/4 lb of linguine until just done, (see package for time, about 12 min) rinse with cold water and drain.  Set it aside.  While the noodles are cooking slice up some pork loin. Pork loins are perfect for soups and stir fry because they are always nice and tender, never tough and chewy.  No one likes tough and chewy.
Pull your scallions out of the fridge, about six of them....
and slice them up.  Using both the white and green parts.
You'll need a tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger.  You can also use the finest grate on a box grater, that way you'll avoid getting any pieces that are a little too big.  Phoebe always seems to get the "prize".  And by that I mean the hunk of ginger that got overlooked, and biting into a big hunk of ginger is not the most pleasant thing that can happen during dinner....
Next chop a couple of tomatoes and grab a quart of chicken broth.  Now you're ready to cook.  It goes pretty quick so its always good to have your food prepped and ready to go.
Heat a little oil in a pot and then add the pork, scallions and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes.
Now add the tomatoes, broth, some water, a little salt and trust me on this one...fish sauce.  You can find this in the Asian food section of your grocery store and if you buy a bottle this big it may very well last you a lifetime.  Or not but just get some.  It's super stinky but once it mellows in the soup (or whatever else you might use it with) it adds a great flavor that makes you feel like you got take out from one of the good places (as opposed to the Chinese joint down the street where everything is super greasy and is made with "taste brown" sauce).  The recipe calls for 3 Tbs, I did 2 because I wanted to be sure the kids would eat it.  I thought it was plenty.  It was a little stinky at first but by the time we ate it, no one even mentioned it.  OK, so now bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until pork is just done, about 10 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, prepare some toppers.  When it's ready to go, stir in the noodles, some bean sprouts and the juice of one lime.
Ladle into bowls and top with sliced cucumbers and chopped fresh herbs (we went with cilantro).  I also added a couple of dashes of Siracha to mine to spice it up a bit.  We will surely be having this again some night!  Click the Food & Wine link for the full recipe and for heaven's sake, stay warm!!

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