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Singing the Praises of Soup

December 15, 2007

I’ve been known to say that I’m not a big fan of soup. After noting that it was appearing frequently on my menus, as it generally does in winter, I had to take a moment to reflect on the accuracy of my comment. As I mulled over it, I realized that I’m not a fan of wimpy soups. I like substance and texture in my soup. I never puree soups because I don’t like the smooth texture, if I wanted that kind of texture I could just have a smoothie. Soups with meat and chunky vegetables and noodles or rice or potatoes are just fine in my book, not that I eat meat in all my soups just in case you were wondering.

A soup that I haven’t made for a long while was something that we enjoyed on Wednesday. It is a Vietnamese soup called pho (pronounced foo). It is a very time consuming soup and may have been derived from the French soup pot au feu, back in the days when the French occupied Indochine. It, of course, has a Vietnamese flair making it different from pot au feu. I would probably have never made it if we hadn’t started buying a side of beef. However, I had some oxtails that I had to figure out how to cook and came across a recipe for pho. I believe that I attempted one of those quick recipes in the past and we didn’t like it as much. You know those types of recipes that offer shortcuts to dishes that only taste good if you follow all the real, long, tedious steps. Pho takes hours and hours to make, but most of the time it is just cooking and making a stock so it actually isn’t time intensive. You cook the oxtails with water, onion, ginger, fish sauce and spices for more than four hours. The nifty part is how it is served. You warm a bowl, add cooked rice noodles to the bottom, top it with raw steak that is sliced as thinly as you can possibly get it and then you ladle the boiling broth onto it. This is such a brilliant idea because the heat of the broth cooks the meat and cools the broth to a temperature that won’t sear your mouth. Then at the table you can garnish as you choose with meat from the oxtails, fresh limes to juice, cilantro, green onions, or fresh chopped chiles. It is delicious. The picture isn’t, admittedly, the most appetizing, however, I took it right after I added the broth so the steak wasn’t yet cooked, hence the pinkish color. I also hadn’t garnished mine yet.

Also this week we had potato leek soup and tonight we are having butternut lentil soup. See? I don’t hate soup; I just needed to evaluate my feelings. Soup is homey and warm and perfect for a cold, wintry night. What’s not to like about it?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Evelyn permalink
    December 15, 2007 1:17 pm

    I like the hearty soups also. The only problem with me is that I only like soup when it is cold. So really, how often do I get to eat soup in Florida?????? Also, Mike really doesn’t like soup at all. But when we live in Oregon, I figure I can make up a pot of soup I really like and freeze it in single serving sizes.

  2. Mysti permalink
    December 16, 2007 2:49 pm

    Oh good night, that looks yummy! The cold spell we had all this week would have been more enjoyable with a bowl of that yummy goodness. 🙂

  3. Lisa permalink
    December 16, 2007 11:50 pm

    Yes, Mom, soup is perfect up here in the winter.

    Mysti-Hubby was coming down with a cold the afternoon that I made this and he was still a little under the weather the next day, but amazingly he was better after that. The girls and I, on the other hand, had a cold for weeks. Miraculous soup? Could be.

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