I love good soups for many reasons. But their cost saving feature is high on the list. Soups can be a great place to plunk your leftover meat and veggies. I always make a turkey noodle soup after Thanksgiving and a split pea one after Easter.
One of my absolute favorite soups, Chinese Hot and Sour, lends itself especially well to leftovers. Its ingredients tend to vary from restaurant to restaurant because it’s one of those “throw whatever you’ve got into the pot” dishes. And since the date for 2014 Chinese New Year is on January 31st, making Hot and Sour Soup would be a perfect way to celebrate what’s likely to be a cold day across much of the country. My version calls for either cooked pork or chicken meat, so use whichever you’ve got on hand.
Easy Hot and Sour Soup
· 10 Chinese Dried Mushrooms, soaked in warm water until soft
· 4 C Beef Broth
· 1 C cooked Chicken or Pork, cut into 1” strips
· 1/2 C Tofu, cut into matchsticks
· 1/2 C Bamboo Shoots, cut into matchsticks
· 1 Tbs Soy Sauce
· 1/2 tsp sugar
· 2 Tbs Corn Starch, mixed with 3 Tbs water
· 1 Egg, beaten well
· 3 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar
· 2 tsp Sesame Oil
· Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
· 2 Scallions, cut into 1” long strips
· Bring broth to a boil.
· While broth heats, remove and discard the mushroom stems and cut the caps into matchsticks.
· Add mushrooms, meat, tofu, and bamboo shoots to the broth, and cook until the liquid returns to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
· Add the soy sauce, and sugar and blend well.
· Add the cornstarch mixture and blend well, and then let the soup come back up to a soft boil so it thickens a bit.
· Drizzle in the beaten egg, and remove from heat.
· Let the egg cook for a minute, and then add the vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper.
· Stir to blend, and then add the scallions. Stir once around the pot, and serve hot.
Many versions of this soup recipe call for dried lily buds and cloud ears, which add to the depth of flavor. If you have a good Asian foods section in your grocery store where you can pick those up, cut the mushroom count to 6 and reconstitute 5 lily buds and 2 Tbs cloud ears. Add them to the broth when you add the meat.
Meanwhile, have a Hot, Sour, and Happy Chinese New Year celebration the Easy way.
Photos Courtesy of Easy Weekly Meals.