Developing a good recipe is difficult, and figuring out how to write it is even harder, so I apologize in advance for this novice effort and for the even more novice video that accompanies it.
This simple soup consists of pork meatballs, sauteed vegetables, rice noodles, and chicken broth. Keeping the ingredients separate is a little more work than it would be to throw everything together in a single pot, but the results are worth it – the vegetables and noodles aren’t mushy, and the meatballs aren’t overcooked. Because the meatballs are so lightly seasoned, flavorful, high quality pork is a must. (Now where would you get something like that?) You can use store bought broth, but as with so many culinary items, homemade will be better.
Pork Meatball & Rice Noodles Soup
For the Meatballs:
1 pound of ground pork
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed Sichuan pepper
1/2 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. tapioca starch (any other starch or flour will also work)
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms
3 medium carrots
1 handful chopped spinach or other leafy green
1 quart of chicken stock
4 oz. of rice noodles
Preheat oven to 350
1.) Combine pork, salt, spices, and starch in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Because the texture should be closer to a Swedish meat ball – fine grained, almost emulsified – rather than a coarse Italian style meatball, you should stir vigorously, until the meat begins to stick to the sides of the bowl. You can also use a stand mixer if you like.
2.) Form into medium sized meatballs, about 1/4 cup each. Bake. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 160.
3.) While meatballs are cooking, chop mushrooms and carrots, and then saute them in olive oil.
4.) Heat broth.
5.) Prepare noodles according to package directions. Make sure to rinse them with cold water to keep them from sticking and to stop them from overcooking.
6.) Once the meatballs are done, add the spinach or leafy greens to the other vegetables and cook until just wilted.
7.) In a bowl combine noodles, vegetables and a few meatballs. Pour in a ladle of stock.
Photo Credit – Garth Brown