Pork Rib Soup

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

Mark Twain was onto something then. Bay area weather is unlike anything one would expect. Merely 2 weeks ago, temperatures were in the high 70s, daring some souls to meekly bring out t-shirts and flip flops, tempting the fickle clouds. This past week had all running back to Uggs and recycled fleece, heaters kicking into gear. The thing about making soup over a stove is that it warms up the kitchen and living room quite nicely, at the same time filling the house with homely aromas. Sweet corn is coming into season here (10 for $5), and sweet corn is my middle name. This is a clear soup, naturally sweetened by rib bones, dried cuttlefish and sweet corn. Root vegetables offset the pork protein. Gogi berries are not usually added but they were in my pantry. They are the cause of the slightly reddish tinge in this otherwise colourless soup.

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Ingredients
1 lb pork back ribs
2 carrots, coined
2 ears of fresh corn, broken into 3″ sections
1 lb winter melon, cubed
1 potato, cubed
(optional) 1 dried cuttlefish, for flavouring
(optional) Handful gogi berries

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Instructions
1. Blanch pork ribs. This will ensure the soup is clear and free of debris.
2. Bring a fresh pot of water boil. Place blanched ribs and cuttlefish into boiling water.
3. When pork is nearly cooked through, add carrots, potatoes and gogi berries for about 2 minutes.
4. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add soy sauce to taste if desired.
5. Add winter melon and increase heat for 3 minutes till melon is just cooked through. This delicate root turns becomes bitter when overcooked.

Serves 4

 

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Sweet corn soup with luncheon meat

I’m on the lookout for quick, savory lunches using whatever is on hand. I don’t usually keep a fully stocked kitchen, so this exercise often ends up with some interesting results. I also wanted something that I could freeze for future lunches. A sort of Smoky Corn Chowder was what I had in mind. I also recently harvested spring leaves from a couple of shallots that I had planted in winter and wanted to use that. Bacon would have been ideal for this soup but I didn’t have any, but I always have luncheon meat.

Whole kernal corn, canned or fresh
1 can cream of chicken
1/3 cup luncheon meat, cubed
Sweet (taiwan or napa) cabbage leaves
1 cup water
Spring onions
Pinch of pepper

Serves 3

Bring all ingredients to a boil, except cabbage and spring onions.
Add cabbage when soup has come to a rolling boil.
When cabbage has softened, snip spring onions into the soup.
sweet corn soup with luncheon meat