I've made no secret over the years about my love affair with soup, and most work days you can find me bent over a steaming bowl of it at lunch time. And not just any soup, either - I mean, sure, there's the canned stuff - or worse - the dehydrated kind that you can grab from the pantry in a pinch. But my favourite soups are always home made.
I come by this honestly. Growing up in a household where money was often tight, my mom could make our food budget stretch like nobody's business and on any given day, there was a pot of soup, stew, or sauce simmering on our stove. But there was nothing better to me on a cold winter evening after school than to walk through the doors of our warm and inviting home than to smell Mom's Split Pea Soup or Scotch Broth bubbling away.
Better still, there was always a bag of baking soda biscuits in the freezer just waiting to be thawed and eaten with the soup - or spread with butter and jam to have as dessert.
And then there was the biggest treat of all: the soup bones. Mom's soup was made during a time when using anything but one's own homemade broth would have been sacrilege; and the making of soup usually began the day before with a big pot of bones. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table talking to my mom about my day while I went to town on the soup bone, sucking all the flavour from its marrow, comforted by its depth, somehow knowing everything was just right if just for a moment.
Nowadays my life is so busy and I don't have the same kind of time my mother did to tend to a soup over a period of days. I do, however, try to make the time on weekends - especially in the winter - to make a big pot of something delicious that my husband and I can take for lunch throughout the week.
Like today's recipe for Asian Style Meatball Soup.
There are a few reasons why this is one of my favourite winter weather concoctions. First, because it packs just the right amount of heat to soothe a sniffly nose or a sore throat. And the flavours, like with any good soup, just get better and better so that when you have the last bowl, it's richer and more flavourful than the first!
But also because I've tried to keep the sodium down to a dull roar. There's nothing worse to me than ordering a beautiful bowl of soup at an Asian restaurant only to be left with a sodium hangover a few hours later. And this soup, I promise, will not leave you that way.
Asian Style Meatball Soup
Or visit me in my kitchen and we'll cook it together!
"Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?" Judith Martin (Miss Manners)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 1 lb ground lean sirloin or beef
- 1 lb lean ground pork
- 1 tsp lemon herb salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 heaping tbsp grated white onion
- 2 tbsp diced celery
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 4 cups chopped baby bok choy (stems and greens separated)
- 8 sliced button mushrooms
- 10 cups low or no sodium beef stock
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Siracha chile sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice from 1 fresh lime
- Cooked Asian Noodles
- Mix the meatball ingredients and roll into small 1/2 inch in diameter balls. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot or Dutch Oven saute the onion, celery, carrot, and baby bok choy stems (the white parts) in the oil over medium high heat just until the onions begin to soften.
- Add the meatballs and continue to saute, stirring often and moving the vegetables aside so that the meatballs begin to brown, add the mushrooms and let them begin to soften. (Adjust your heat to medium if the pan gets too hot)
- Add the beef stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate all the flavour into the soup.
- Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, fresh ginger, rice wine vinegar, Siracha chile sauce, and sesame oil and bring to the boil.
- Cover, reduce heat, and continue cooking at a simmering boil for 45 minutes.
- Add the baby bok choy greens, lime, and cilantro and stir until they are wilted into the soup.
- Serve in large bowls over Asian Noodles.
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.
Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.
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