hot and sour soup

Lately the weather has stayed wet and grey but for the few days sprinkled in filled with January sunshine. Behind the drear, the rain washes the air and snow fills the mountains so that as soon as the clouds roll back, everyone remembers why the rain is worth it as the mountain ranges make themselves a part of our lives again.

With family coming for dinner, wet wind outside, and a busy work day, this soup once again proved its worth. We discovered it almost exactly one year ago in Eat Well Feel Well by Kendall Conrad, a cookbook I find myself going back to time and again for meals that I'm proud to serve to others. Most of the recipes call for ingredients that can be tricky to find depending on the season or which require many, though simple steps. However, the same characteristics make it perfect for celebrations or for when you're hankering for a quiet afternoon of cooking.

I could eat this soup for days. But! WORD OF WARNING: this soup gets extremely hot after three to four days in the fridge. That makes it absolutely wonderful for cold season as it clears anything left in your head right out, but for those who just want soup instead of fire, I suggest eating it all within a couple of days. A very easy task, even with just two people.

Eat Well Feel Well by Kendall Conrad
serves 10


3/4 c peanut oil or peanut butter with oil

heat in a thick soup pot over medium-high heat

8 oz pork shoulder, thinly sliced

add to peanut butter and season with salt. sear and brown, about 12 minutes transfer meat to a plate and set aside

2 c shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 T fresh ginger, grated
2 T minced garlic

add and cook 2 minutes

the reserved pork
8 c chicken stock
1 head bok choy, white and green sliced
3 scallions, white and green (reserve garnish)

add and bring to a boil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

slowly stir in. turn off heat.

1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro (reserve garnish)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

add and stir well. serve immediately, garnishing with cilantro and/or scallion