I have had the pleasure of working and preparing food at the Co-op since the fall of 2018. In my personal life I also enjoy cooking daily for my husband Don and I. He and I feel that sitting down to a well-prepared and healthy supper is one of the most important times of our day. It is our opportunity to be together and share a meal and the news of our day. Additionally, as folks who married one another later in life it is a time to share stories of our long lives lived before we knew one another. It is surprising the journeys our lives have taken us on to bring us together. We celebrate this each night as we toast to the day!
Although I do plan meals, I do that mostly utilizing the bounty that is the Co-op Store, Deli & Bakery. I am so lucky to work for such a wonderful employer, in addition to the pleasure of such beautiful fresh foods at the ready!
To this end my offering is a soup we have enjoyed monthly over the winter months and into our cooler spring days:
Pork Noodle Soup With Ginger & Toasted Garlic
This is a delicious and easy meal. Substitutions are easy and any time we eat this supper we enjoy it immensely. We accompany w/toast or fresh baked bread and a salad, sometimes.
3 tablespoons neutral oil, grapeseed, vegetable or canola
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound ground pork
1 ½ teaspoons red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus more to taste
1 large bunch pea leaves or spinach, thick stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (from about a 1 1/2-inch piece)
6 ounces rice noodles (thick- or thin-cut), cooked and drained
½ medium red, yellow or white onion or 3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
- Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the slices become nicely toasted and golden brown, 2 or 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic and set aside.
- Add pork and red-pepper flakes to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up large pieces, until the pork is well browned and in small bite-size pieces, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, soy sauce and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes or so, until the pork is very tender and the broth tastes impossibly good. (Give it a taste and season with salt, pepper, red-pepper flakes and soy sauce, if you want.) Add pea leaves, half of the onion slices, and all of the ginger. Stir to wilt the leaves.
- To serve, ladle soup over noodles and top with remaining onion, cilantro and toasted garlic.
Now, for the substitutions to get you thinking in new directions, I often add sliced shiitake mushrooms to make this more of a full meal. If peas are not in the store I generally keep frozen spinach on hand and it fits nicely into this meal offering. I sometimes add fish sauce, for a bit more umami. Those how don’t eat pork, can sub ground chicken or Turkey. I have not tried tofu, but I imagine it would be lovely fried and added to the broth and veggies. In a pinch, when I wanted super thin rice vermicelli noodles I used the noodles from ramen packages, sans the sauce mix. One can opt to use less red-pepper flakes or simply add at the table to each individual bowl.
Have fun and enjoy!