This weekend, my friend Margaret and I had a “quiet night in” that turned into an evening of much wine, laughter and a bit of minor mayhem. Those are the best kind, in my opinion, unexpected rolling of hilarity between bottles of red wine, political gossip, skyping with friends far away and cooking. We picked out this recipe for Pork, Kale and Noodle soup early in the day because Margaret had a pound of Massey Creek Farm ground pork on hand and we are both devouring kale right now. It’s also fun to make new recipes with friends – finding replacement ingredients when you just happened to purchase “salted sand lance” instead of fish sauce (lemon juice is a good replacement).
With all that said, have casual nights in the kitchen cooking with friends. You’ll have an unexpected fun time, a delicious meal and a night to remember. This recipe is perfect for the start of Fall.
Spicy Pork and Kale Soup, from Eat Live Run
1/2 lb ground pork
1 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp lemon zest
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 cups chicken broth
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 large bunch curly kale, roughly chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
8 oz rice noodles
If you have a mortar and pestle use it to smash together the peppercorns and lemon zest. If not, use the back of a knife on a cutting board (carefully). Do the same thing with the cumin seeds. Place the smashed peppercorns, lemon zest, smashed cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic in a medium size bowl. Mix well then add the ground pork and mix very well to combine the spices with the pork. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pot, add the oil and heat over medium high heat. When hot, add the seasoned ground pork. Sprinkle with salt and break up pork with a spoon. Cook for about 5 minutes, until pork is done.
Add the chicken broth to the pot along with the scallions, fish sauce and soy sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 6 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Add the kale — don’t worry if it seems like a crazy huge amount, it will cook down! — and stir well. Keep simmering for about 10 minutes while you prepare the noodles.
In another pot, cook the rice noodles in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
To serve the soup, place some rice noodles at the bottom of bowls. Ladle soup on top. Serve with sriracha if you desire but keep in mind that this soup already has a big kick!