Spicy pork and mustard green soup is on the 2014 January cover of Bon Appétit. I like to challenge myself and will sometimes attempt to cook their cover (remember the beautiful pork roast?). I have to admit I was not particularly jazzed about eating wet, wilted greens, but the premise of a spicy bowl of soup in under an hour was alluring. I know “super greens” are good for you, but, I’m sorry greens, super or not, sometimes you can be slimy! For me, the key to this recipe is to wilt the greens in the soup right before you are ready to eat it. Like get your soup bowl and spoon ready, then put the greens into the pot. BA says to wilt them for 5-8 minutes but I say 4 minutes and serve. The result? No slime! The flavor is awesome too, the usage of crushed cumin seeds really lends a warmth to the dish, and the heat from the chili flakes will clear your nose on a congested day. A perfect bowl to help you gear up for today’s cold and snowy elements!
Let’s get started. Zest your ginger and garlic, and rough chop the cumin seeds. *Note: the cumin seeds will bounce all over the place when chopped, so be prepared to scrape up the ones who stray. Mortar and pestle might be a better tool use. Dump these ingredients into a bowl along with your pork, Sichuan peppercorns, and red pepper flakes and get to mixing. I looked high and low for Sichuan peppercorns, but couldn’t find any in my local grocery. I opted for 1/2 teaspoon more of red pepper flakes, but you can click on the above link to purchase them online. I am sure an Asian specialty store would also have them.
Heat the oil in your soup pot over medium. Add the pork mixture and season with a small pinch of salt and a few cranks of pepper. Make sure to break up the pork so it cooks evenly, for about 8-10 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a boil. (If you don’t make your own broth, please note, I have found “unsalted” branded broth actually can sometimes contain more salt than other low sodium branded broths! In one case it was 2x as much! Check your labels and find the lowest sodium broth available. Soy sauce adds plenty of salt to this dish and you don’t want to salt bomb yourself!) Let broth simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Time to boil your noodles. Take care not to overcook them. 4-5 minutes per the box’s instructions and you should be set.
Add mustard greens, scallions, soy sauce, fish sauce and cook for 4 minutes more.
Ladle soup over divided noodles and garnish with a few chopped reserved scallions for added crunch.
Don’t forget to collect accolades. Sometimes the accolades are given in a slurping-the-bowl-in-your-face kind of way.
Spicy Pork & Mustard Green Soup
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 garlic cloves, zested
- 2 teaspoons peeled, zested ginger
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- pinch of salt, couple of cranks of black pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 bunch mustard greens, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 scallions, sliced thinly with 2 tablespoons reserved
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 8 ounces wide rice noodles
1. Mix pork with zested garlic, zested ginger, sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and cumin seeds in a bowl.
2. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium. Add pork mix, season with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of pepper and cook, breaking up pork, until browned and cooked through. Cook pork for 8-10 minutes.
3. Add broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
4. Cook rice noodles according to package
5. Add mustard greens, scallions, soy sauce, and fish sauce and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
6. Divide noodles evenly among 4 bowls and ladle soup overtop of noodles. Garnish with reserved chopped scallions.