I spent a few minutes reviewing past blog entries and I was struck by the fact that I don't have any that feature "the other white meat," (aka pork) as the main ingredient. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against pork. I put it in pasta sauces (sausage), soups (ham and sausage) and risottos (bacon). But I think it would be nice to feature pork in its unadulterated form.
There is one recipe that I have made several times and really, really enjoy. It's a Chinese dish - a clear soup with pork balls with egg noodles. It's flavorful, but not spicy. The pork balls are very soft and loose. They go well with the broth and the noodles.
People sometimes assume that making stock from scratch is a big deal. It actually isn't. Does it take more time than opening a can of Swanson's and pouring it out? Obviously. But the result achieved in making the stock from chicken is really worth the effort. And you can always freeze any remaining stock, so it doesn't go to waste.
I did not my own egg noodles; my local pan-Asian supermarket had them. They worked just fine.
Because I wanted more vegetables, I added additional cabbage to the soup. I had extra and couldn't think of anything else that I wanted to use it for, so I just shredded more and added it to the broth.
Chinese Clear Soup with Pork Balls and Egg Noodles
3lb. 5 oz chicken bones (chicken necks, backs wings), washed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 slices ginger 1/2 inch thick
4 scallions, white part only
5 1/2 oz Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 tbs peanut oil
2 tsps sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs grated ginger
10 1/2 oz minced (ground) pork
1 egg white
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs Chinese rice wine
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
5 scallions, finely sliced
7 oz fresh fine egg noodle
1. To make the stock, put the bones and 14 cup water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer- do not boil. Cook for 30 minutes, removing any scum that rises to the surface. Add the garlic, ginger and scallion and cook, partially covered, at a low simmer for 3 hours. Strain through a fine sieve. Cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the layer of fat from the surface once it has solidified.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook the cabbage for 2 minutes, or until soft. Drain, cool and squeeze out the excess water.
3. Heat the peanut oil and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a small frying pan and cook the garlic and ginger for 1 minute, or until the garlic just starts to brown. Allow to cool.
4. Combine the pork, cabbage, garlic mixture, egg white, white pepper, soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, half the cilantro and half the scallion. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Shape into 22 balls using 1 tablespoon of mixture per ball.
5. Bring 6 cups of stock to a boil in a wok. Simmer for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Add the pork balls and cook, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until they rise to the top and are cooked through.
6. Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse. Divide among bowls and ladle the soup and balls on top. Garnish with the remaining scallion, cilantro and sesame oil.