Let’s Talk Food: Soup for chilly nights
If this cold weather continues, dinners will certainly include soups to warm our insides. My niece Carla Kuo made some oxtail soup for New Year’s Day along with mochi soup with abalone.
CHINESE OXTAIL SOUP
Soak in warm water for 10 minutes, drain and remove white membrane:
1 piece gow pee (Chinese dried tangerine peel, available at Kilauea Market)
Place in cheesecloth and tie:
1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns
3 pounds oxtails, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Place in large soup pot, bring oxtails and top with water to cover. Boil and drain.
Wash oxtails of all scum. Add 12 cups water (water should reach 2 inches above ingredients in pot) and add:
1/4 cup sherry Chinese wine
One three inch piece fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic
Tangerine peel — gow pee
Szechuan peppercorns in cheese cloth
2 carrots, chopped into chunks
1 large fresh turnip, chopped into chunks
4 Chinese dried dates
2 whole star anise
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup raw peanuts, shelled
10 pieces dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water to soften, cut in half
2 cups or more peeled and cubed togan or Chinese squash
Salt and soy sauce to taste
Boil and simmer for 2 hours. Garnish before serving with:
One bunch Chinese parsley, cleaned and chopped
In small bowls, place:
Grated fresh ginger
Minced green onions
Minced Chinese parsley
Serve with hot rice and enjoy as it warms you.
I had one more Thanksgiving pumpkin left from my sister’s garden and I could not decide what kind of soup to make. My preference would be a nicely seasoned Thai soup, but my husband Jim prefers a simple straight-forward one with a potato to thicken, similar to a potato soup or chowder.
THAI PUMPKIN SOUP
In a soup pot add:
3 cups coconut water
1 pound pumpkin, seeded and cubed into 1-inch squares
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, crushed
3/4 teaspoon red curry paste, or more to taste
1/3 cup almond milk (not vanilla flavored)
Heat until pumpkin is soft, about 45 minutes, or medium heat.
Use immersion or stick blender to completely puree to a silky texture. Pour soup into warm soup bowls. Place 2 teaspoons marinated Hamakua mushrooms in middle of each bowl. Serve with chopped green onions and cilantro.
In a medium bowl, add:
1 tray Hamakua Mushrooms, cut into small dice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms.
Heat in a soup pot over low heat:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
Cook for 3 minutes, until onions and leeks are softened but have not changed color.
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
1 pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Bring to boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until pumpkin and potatoes are well cooked. Use immersion or stick blender to completely puree to smooth texture.
Stir in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and stir thoroughly, reheating gently. Season with salt and pepper and add little more nutmeg if desired.
WITH SAGE AND
In a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, melt over medium-high heat:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 leek, washed and sliced into round
Cook, stirring until the onions are soft and lightly golden, 10 minutes. Add and sauté until starting to soften:
3 pounds fresh pumpkin flesh, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 teaspoons salt
3 bay leaves
8 cups chicken broth
Cook, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and the broth is beginning to thicken slightly. Once the pumpkin is tender, discard the herbs and puree the soup using an immersion or stick blender.
In a medium sauté pan, brown:
1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh sweet Italian sausage
Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pan and drain on paper towel. Top the soup with the sausage. Garnish with:
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Serve with warm crusty bread
Oxtails are actually cow’s tail. I am not sure why, but we probably started making soup from ox when they were the animals in the farm.
Immersion or stick blenders are a must in anyone’s kitchen. Invented in Switzerland by Roger Perringjaquet and patented in 1950, it was called “bamix” and soon became a necessary appliance in restaurant kitchens to blend dressings and puree soups. Prices range from under $50 for Cuisinart’s Smart Stick to Breville’s model for under $100.
I am on my second immersion or stick blender which was given to me by my three sons several Christmas’s ago.
Be very careful of the immersion blender. There is no safety device and it could cut someone’s fingers up pretty badly. Like all equipment, treat it carefully and do not let it get into hands of little ones.
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.
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