Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Spicy Pork & Mustard Green Soup


I grew up in a family that ate Hoppin’ John on New Years Day. For those not familiar with it, Hoppin’ John is a rice based dish with sausage & black eyed peas. My family kept it pretty simple, with just those ingredients plus seasonings. I liked it, but Nathan has never been a fan. The black eyed peas are supposed to bring you luck for the new year. Greens are supposed to bring you luck in the new year as well, signifying money. I did not grow up in a family that ate greens ever, let alone on New Years Day. My family sometimes had boiled cabbage instead. I hope to never eat (or smell) boiled cabbage again in my entire life. In years past I’ve tried different variations on some of these traditional dishes, with feedback that varied from ho-hum to distaste. Yet every year I vow to find a recipe Nathan will actually like.

This recipe does not incorporate black eyed peas in any way. But it’s got the greens, and it’s got the flavor of the sausage and broth that are familiar to me in the Hoppin’ John, with a unique Asian twist. My plan was to serve this alongside this recipe of Martha Stewart’s for Hearty Blackeyed Peas. I didn’t manage to get the beans prepared, but I made them the following day.

This fragrant soup was warm, satisfying, slightly exotic, and yet slightly familiar to me. Nathan’s comment was “Pretty good.” Well, that was after he added in some sriracha. This recipe will warm up any cold winter day, and comes together pretty easily. Buying bagged and chopped mustard greens will save you time as well. I doubled this recipe and froze some, sans noodles. Now when I want to serve it again, all I need to do is cook the noodles.


Spicy Pork & Mustard Green Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

I couldn't locate Sichuan peppercorns in my local grocery, but I presume you could find them at an Asian or international market. I subbed a bit of white pepper, but I think it would be fine without.


½ pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch mustard greens, torn (about 4 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 oz. wide rice noodles
sriracha for serving (optional)


Mix pork, garlic, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and cumin in a medium bowl.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pork mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors meld, 8–10 minutes. Add mustard greens, scallions, soy sauce, and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, 5–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.

Divide noodles among bowls and ladle soup over, top with sriracha if desired.

Calories (kcal) 370 Fat (g) 16 Saturated Fat (g) 5 Cholesterol (mg) 45 Carbohydrates (g) 36 Dietary Fiber (g) 3 Total Sugars (g) 3 Protein (g) 19 Sodium (mg) 1370

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