Saturday, October 4, 2008


Today's cold weather and my wet bike ride inspired me to make something that was homemade and warm, so I made a soup that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I think she made it whenever she had random stuff on hand, because all it really needs is a good broth and pasta. Yes, you heard me, this soup uses pasta. No, it's not Asian and no, it's not Italian. I have no idea what it is - it's just soup that's yummy.

A warning that it's not as easy or quick as my usual meals. And it's definitely not vegetarian friendly, as it requires three different meats (all pork).

The broth can be modified and used for any kind of soup you desire. You can also add a few stalks of celery in there (I just didn't have any).

So, here I present you:

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Pasta and meat soup
Feeds: 5-6
Active prep time: minutes at before simmering the broth and 15 minutes at meal time

  • (3 lbs) chicken or pork bones. My mom swears that pork bones make the broth "smell funny" but I don't buy it. I use either, whichever one looks better at the grocery store.
  • (3-4) large carrots, cut into inch segments.
  • (1) large onion, cut in quarters, but not completely. In other words, cut the onion like you're going to cut it into quarters, but don't cut it all the way through. That way, when the onion cooks, it doesn't fall apart and is easy to take out in one big scoop. I used red because it's what I had on hand, but you can use yellow.
  • (1) tray pork trotter. I don't know how much is in a tray, perhaps a pound and a half? And you may ask, "What is pork trotter?" Well, it's a euphemism for pork feet. Yeah, pork feet. It's something that is uniquely Vietnamese, in the way it's prepared here, I think.
  • (1 lb) lean ground pork, sauteed with 4 cloves garlic until cooked.
  • (2 lbs) chives, chopped into 2 inch segments.
  • (5) green onions, chopped.
  • (1 bunch) cilantro, chopped.
  • (1) jalapeno, sliced.
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  • (1 lb) pasta, cooked. My favorite pasta to use in this is generic macaroni, but all I had on hand was rotini.
  • (1 tbsp) sugar.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste.
To make broth:
  1. Boil 4 quarts water.
  2. Add pork or chicken bones, bring to gentle boil, gently. The rougher the boil, the murkier the broth turns.
  3. Add carrots and onion.
  4. Simmer covered as long as you can stand. I like to it to boil for at least 4 hours, for the most flavor.
  5. An hour before you're going to eat, put in pork trotters and bring to gentle boil, then simmer and cover.
  6. Season with salt to taste and sugar.
To assemble:
  1. Pasta goes in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add a little bit of chives, little bit of onion, little bit of cilantro and a little bit of ground pork.
  3. Grab one piece pork trotter and soup bone (if you're into that kind of thing - some people aren't).
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  4. Scoop soup over whole thing, top with squeeze of lemon and dash of freshly ground pepper.
A picture of most of the ingredients. Yes, I cooked this all for one person - me.
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