It’s no secret I have a thing for soup. We’re friends. It could be because winter around here hangs out for like 9 out of 12 months. So. Much. Fun. Ahem. It’s great for soup though.
Bone broth is a relatively new discovery for me. By name, anyway. I’ve been guilty of over-cooking a soup stock until, when cooled, it turned gelatinous. Gross. Or so I thought. Little did I know it was liquid gold, and one of the best things I could possibly consume for gut health. I’m not going to go into detail here about the creation of, variations on, or nutritional benefits of bone broth. I’ll let Lauren Matheson guest posting at Kitchen Stewardship do that for me because she does such a marvelous job. You can read up on it here.
The gist: Bone broth is made from simmering meat bones (chicken/fish/beef/pork) for an extended period of time (8+ hours), until all of the nutrients condensed in the bone marrow, joints and meat are leached out into the broth. Including the gelatin from the bone joins. It all sounds gristly, I know, but it is far less macabre than you might think. I’m not one for being in love with the process, but I sure love the product, and isn’t that they way with most things? And what remains in your soup pot once the simmering process is finished, is the most beautiful broth you’ve ever tasted.
The soup in this recipe is made from a base of pork bone broth, but you could use fish/beef/or chicken as well.
BONE BROTH AND VEGETABLE SOUP WITH BEAN THREAD NOODLES
1 quart homemade bone broth (Pork/chicken/beef/fish)
Whatever meat remains on bones (removed from bones of course) once the broth has cooked. Approximately 1 cup or so.
1 cup carrots
2 small zucchini
1 package mushrooms (portabella or chanterelle)
2 large handfuls of baby kale greens
1 package of bean thread noodles
1 teaspoon salt
Take one quart of bone broth and heat to boiling. Add the meat remaining from the bones you simmered and add them to the heated broth. Sprinkle salt into the broth and taste—adjust salt to your liking.
Once the broth is boiling add carrots and cook in the broth until they are fork-tender. Then, add zucchini—sliced into rounds and then half-rounds—and cook for one minute. Add the bean thread noodles followed by the remaining veggies and simmer gently until the noodles are cooked through and tender, but not mushy.
I have this distinct memory of my first brussels sprout experience.
I could wax poetic about texture (there was a lot) and flavor (it was bad), color (definitely bland and kind of . . . wilted), but I’ll be brief and just say that my brussels sprout sensibilities have matured as I’ve aged. I’ve also learned how to cook them a bit differently than whoever cooked them for me that first time. So, in addition to culinary maturity, the actual vegetable dish itself has improved.
It’s all good. In fact, it’s quite good. Brussels sprouts are actually one of my all time favorite vegetables.
Hear that younger self? If time travel is a thing I hope you Google yourself, find this post, and read these words: YOU WILL LIKE BRUSSLES SPROUTS.
Awesome. Now if the time-space continuum breaks you’ll know it’s my fault.
That’s the power of a properly cooked vegetable. And it’s even more powerful when topped with a soft egg.
CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH A SOFT EGG
1 lb brussles sprouts
3 + tablespoons clarified butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by washing the brussels sprouts in a colander under cold water. Then slice the edge of the bottom stem off, removing the first layer of leaves. Pull these away and then slice the sprout in half. Do this with each sprout. It’s a little tedious, but totally worth it.
Once all of your sprouts are cleaned, heat the butter in a large flat-bottom pan over med-high heat. If you are so inclined, feel free to add more butter. Because butter.
Toss the cleaned sprouts in the pan and turn with a spatula to coat evenly. Salt and pepper generously, cover, and let the heat do its magic. Leave them sit for 3 minutes or so, and then turn again. Leave for another three minutes and turn. The goal here is to allow the heat to soften the sprouts while gently crisping the outer edges. You are going for a browned-almost-brunt edge on the majority of the sprouts without overcooking or over-softening them. Mushy sprouts are gross. No amount of butter can fix them.
When the edges are browned, remove the sprouts from the pan, turn down the heat a bit and cook the eggs. Crack the shells gently so as not to break the yokes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and allow the eggs to cook just a couple of minutes—until the yellow yoke is covered with a very think film of white.
Plate the brussels sprouts evenly between four plates, and using a soft spatula, gently top each pile of sprouts with a soft egg.
*makes four servings
So tonight I had one of those end-of-week nights when I scanned the kitchen for something reasonable (“No, we can’t have cereal for dinner. Again.”) to make all of my people for dinner, only to discover I probably should have purchased groceries a few days ago. So as I scanned, I made a wish. This helps sometimes. (I wished for lobster, if we’re being honest. Steamed, served piping hot with drawn butter, and already on my table). But that didn’t happen. Instead, I found some veggies. and they reminded me of a couple tiny but tasty grass-fed steaks I had in the freezer (Yes, grass-fed = veggies in my mind, stick with me), and so I got out my serious dicing knife, chopped for a few minutes, and into a pan everything went!
This is a nice meal if you’re in a rush. 20 minutes and you’re good—the most time consuming part is dicing ALL THE THINGS. But once that’s done, it’s basically a case of toss-it-in-the pan and la-la-la, dinner.
STEAK AND VEGGIE TOSSED SKILLET
2 nicely cut small steaks—sliced very thin
2-3 red and/or yellow peppers—sliced
2-3 green and/or yellow summer squash—sliced in rounds
1 container of Chanterelle mushrooms
1-2 cups of fresh spinach
3 Tablespoons peanut Oil
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon diced onion
salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauté or stir-fry pan, heat peanut oil on med-high heat. Add steak, sliced very thin, along with garlic and onions. Toss until coated evenly with oil and cook through, 5-6 minutes. Add peppers, cook for a minute, followed by summer squash, and mushrooms. Add the spinach last and cook until just wilted. Serve hot.