Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vitenamese Pho (with Pork)

If you've ever had Pho, you know how good it is and how you crave it at the worst possible time! If you haven't - well, try this recipe! You'll see that this soup is simple and quick. The secret is in the condiments, served on the side, and added to the pho to taste. It's all about the condiments! Next time, I think I'll find a stalk of lemongrass to simmer in the broth.

3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 scallions (green onions)
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon fish sauce
pork tenderloin, cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon red chili paste
Egg noodles (superfine - Asian type)
Rice noodles (rice stick)

Lime wedges
fresh cilantro
fresh thai basil
bean sprouts
fish sauce
soy sauce

In a large stock pot, add the chicken broth, water, scallions, garlic, and fish sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sliced pork. Simmer another 15 minutes or until pork is fully cooked.

In a separate pot, cook the noodles and set aside.

Serve the soup with the noodles and add in the condiments to taste.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

After perusing many recipes online for the perfect cream of mushroom soup, I had enough ideas in my head to come up with my own version. Co-worker tested and approved by 4 out of 4 co-workers!

1 container of button mushrooms
1 container of baby portabello mushrooms
1 large "hen of the woods" muishroom*
3 cups of chicken broth/stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sherry wine
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 small white onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
olive oil

Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

Heat a skillet and add approximately 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil**. Add the diced onion to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Sautee the onions until clear, about 5 minutes. Add the diced mushrooms. Sautee the mushrooms until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a stock pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth to form the roux. Allow to cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and stir until the roux is incorporated. Allow to simmer 5 minutes. Add the thyme and sherry wine.

Add the mushrooms/onions to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream. Simmer another 5 minutes. Remove approximately 2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or food processor. Place the pureed soup back into the pot. This step allows the soup to become thicker while allowing some chunks of mushrooms in the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer 20 minutes and serve.

* You can use any mushrooms you can get your hands on...mix it up!

** I had leftover bacon grease from breakfast so I used it to sautee the onions and mushrooms.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A quickie - Thai Simmer Chicken

So my quickie pantry-raid dinner was pretty darn good.

I wanted to make some chicken that would complement the yellow saffron rice I wad making. I didn't feel like grilling it or baking it...a simmer sauce sounded good. So here's what I did....

Butterfly two skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper. Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken on both sides.

Add to the pan:
1 cup (give or take) chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili paste
2-3 tablespoons Vidalia onion salad dressing
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Simmer (covered) for about 20 minutes. Serve over rice and top with simmer sauce.