Hot and Sour Soup with Pork, Bok Choy and Ramen -A Quick Weeknight Meal!
When everyone is home from school and work and it’s time for dinner- the last thing you want to do is drag everyone out into the cold (because it is cold here right now) and go out to eat. This is something I have to remember because when I am tired and have worked all day I oftentimes suggest we get carry out and 9 times out of 10 it is some kind of Asian cuisine I crave. Namely: Pho (pronounced fa).
The closest place to my house that serves crave-worthy noodle bowls is 30 minutes away and that is out of the question on a school night. Next best thing? Make a version of my favorite belly-warming soup myself.
Enter in Mark Bittman. After hearing him speak on the campus of Indiana University last fall, my mom bought his popular cookbook: How to Cook Everything Fast ,for me. In it I found a recipe that closely resembles Pho- hot and sour soup with bok choy and pork, and I decided to give it a try. What I loved upon first glance was that the ingredient list was not long and many of the items I already had on hand. Not to mention the total cook time was right around 30 minutes with preparation. My kind of meal!
I knew right away that I would be doubling this recipe in terms of the amount of stock, pork and bok choy I used. Also, in a separate pot I cooked some ramen to add to each bowl before I ladled in the soup. This is what I used:
If you cannot find ramen, use whole wheat spaghetti (1/2 lb), or cooked brown or white rice.
One feature in this recipe is the bok choy. I love, LOVE bok choy! It is mild and pairs well with many soups and stir fry’s. If you can’t find the full sized variety ($1.79 at most stores) then use the ‘baby’ version. I used 5 total cups (ribs and leaves).
Lastly, I think it really matters what kind of base you use. I used low sodium stock. It just has so much more going on. I used 2 32oz cartons which were on sale for $1.99.
The original recipe calls for pork shoulder, 12 oz to be exact. Well, that is hard to find in my neck of the woods in that quantity so to keep the prep time to a minimum I bought pork loin chops and sliced them very thin. Remember, this helps speed up the cooking. Have a hard time slicing meat? Pop it into the freezer for about 30 minutes to make it easier. You can find great choices of Indiana Pork at all Indiana grocery stores.