Spicy Pork & Kale Soup


Intro Collage

We have been easing back into the reality of the New Year.  Monday, Michael returned to the office.  Tuesday, school resumed for Mallory.  Yesterday, Max returned to school and had his first winter training session for football in the afternoon.  Today {Thursday}, Maddie began the last half of her senior year in high school.  I returned home this morning, after school drop off to an eerily quiet house.  Following 2+ weeks of vacation with everyone home coming and going, friends, family, entertaining, my goal today was to get the house somewhat put back together before having to leave with the girls and the horses for the weekend.  The holidays are my favorite time of year and having every one home together is the best gift but there is a small sense of relief when we can get back into the rhythm of real life.  

Prior to going head to head with my lengthy list of chores, I sat at my desk with a hot cup of tea to visit a few of my favorite places in cyberspace.  I found myself over at the Canelle et Vanille blog, admiring Aran’s beautiful photos {and recipe} for a Candied~apple île flottante and longing for the “drizzle, fog and grey skies” of her winter in the Pacific Northwest {Seattle}.  Looking at her photo of blowing native grasses against a backdrop of a dark sky and an even darker ocean made me realize that nature, just like our own lives, possesses a rhythm.  Winter is a time for dormancy…a period of restfulness.  A time to turn within in order to prepare for rebirth in the spring.  As I looked out over the Bay from my living room windows, the persistent sunshine was a glaring reminder that winter has failed to arrive in Northern California.  It may seem selfish to complain about day~after~day of sunshine and mild temperatures, especially to those suffering in the middle of the “Polar Vortex”, but the lack of rain is a drastic disruption to nature’s rhythm and it is causing great concern for many.

Last night’s soup bridges the gap between the winter we are experiencing here in California versus the weather just about everywhere else.  Not too heavy but warming and extremely flavorful…a restorative soup for the New Year.  A nourishing chicken broth is the base for this Asian~style soup which gets a massive injection of flavor from pork seasoned with garlic, ginger, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, Chinese five~spice powder & cumin seed…




Along with the seasoned pork, the light broth gains texture from the addition of chopped kale, scallions and rice noodles…



IMG_7108 2

The finished soup bowl…


Spicy Pork & Kale Soup
Serves 8
A warming + flavorful broth~based soup with spicy pork, hearty kale and silky rice noodles
  1. 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon Chinese five~spice powder
  5. 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  6. 4 cloves garlic, grated
  7. 4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled + finely grated
  8. 1 pound ground pork
  9. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  10. 8 cups chicken broth {preferably homemade}
  11. 1 bunch kale leaves, torn {about 4 cups}
  12. 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  13. 4 tablespoons liquid aminos {or low sodium soy sauce}
  14. 2 teaspoons fish sauce {such as nam pla or nuoc nam}
  15. 1 pound rice noodles
  1. Using a mortar & pestle, combine and crush peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and cumin seed. Add Chinese five~spice powder and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add pork, reserved spices, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
  3. Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors meld, 8–10 minutes. Add kale leaves, scallions, liquid aminos, and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, 5–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper {if needed}.
  4. While the soup cooks, prepare noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse.
  5. Divide noodles among bowls and ladle soup over.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
THE DINNER CONCIERGE http://thedinnerconcierge.com/
 K Initial

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