Chinese Hot-and-Sour Soup
It’s a bit milder than the restaurant standard, but that’s what we like about it. The flavors are balanced and fresh, and the acidity functions as an accent, not a one-note blast. Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Notes: The heat from the black pepper in this soup intensifies as it sits. If you plan to make the soup ahead of time or want a milder flavor, use 2 tsp. during cooking; then taste the soup before serving and add more pepper if you like.
Yield: Makes about 4 1/2 qts. (serving size: 1 cup) Total: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
- 2 pounds pork top loin, cut crosswise into 1/8-in.-thick strips
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1 can (8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- About 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh cilantro and sliced green onions (pale green and white parts)
2. Heat peanut oil in a large pot (at least 5 qts.) over medium-high heat, then add pork and marinade. Cook, stirring constantly, until pork loses its pink color, about 4 minutes. Stir in bamboo shoots and cook 1 minute.
3. Increase heat to high, add broth, and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook about 20 minutes. Add tofu and simmer 5 minutes. Add soy-vinegar mixture and simmer 5 minutes more; the liquid will thicken.
4. In a small bowl, beat eggs with sesame oil. Slowly pour eggs into soup in a thin stream while stirring soup very slowly in one direction. Add pepper, stir briefly, then simmer 5 minutes. Serve with cilantro and green onions.
Herbed Carrot Soup
Rather than stirring the herbs into the soup, try setting out bowls of dill and tarragon–along with some crème fraîche or sour cream for dolloping–and let guests do the garnishing themselves.
Yield: Makes about 3 1/2 qts. (serving size: 1 cup) Total: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-in.-thick rounds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup long-grain rice (any variety)
- 2 to 3 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
2. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
3. Remove bay leaf and purée soup in batches in a blender. Return soup to pot and set over low heat. Add whipping cream and 2 cups water (if soup looks too thick, add a little more water) and cook until warmed through. Season to taste with additional salt.
4. Serve soup hot, with crème fraîche or sour cream, dill, and tarragon.
Split Pea, Beef, and Barley Soup
Two soups combine to bring the heartiness of split pea and the rich, nutty flavor of beef and barley to this recipe. The dish is based on a recipe from Lainey Feingold.
Yield: Makes about 8 qts. (serving size: 1 cup) Total: 2 Hours, 45 Minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces
- 5 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large onions, chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cups green split peas (one 16-oz. package)
- 3/4 cup dried baby lima beans
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 5 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-in. pieces
2. Add onions, leek, parsnips, celery, and remaining 3 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 5 minutes. Return beef to pot and add split peas, lima beans, and 4 qts. water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Add barley and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in carrots and cook 20 minutes more. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Yield: Makes about 4 1/2 qts. (serving size: 1 cup) Total: 1 Hour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 12 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 package (8 oz.) small corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-in.-thick strips (see Notes)
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-in.-thick strips
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Monterey jack cheese, additional chopped cilantro, and/or sliced green onions for topping
2. Add broth, tomatoes, and half the lime juice and increase heat to a gentle simmer; cook 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, pour about 1 in. of vegetable oil into a small frying pan set over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add one-third of the tortilla strips and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer strips to a paper towel-lined baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips in two batches. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Set aside.
4. Purée soup in batches in a blender. Return soup to pot and resume simmering. In a small bowl, toss chicken with remaining lime juice, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, then add to soup and simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in cilantro. Serve hot with tortilla strips and your choice of toppings.