I’m not going to lie to you. I still have a lot of pork left over from hamming it up a couple weeks ago. So far, we’ve eaten it roasted, and in a quick ragù. It’s been snowing all day – I think Baltimore got over a foot and it’s still coming down – and a steaming bowl of noodle soup sounds like the perfect low-effort dinner for a cold night.
Make the soup base, and then warm the pork by poaching it in the soup. Meanwhile, cook the noodles and prep the green vegetables. Almost any greens will do – if you don’t have bok choy or yu choy handy, but you’ve got spinach, that’s just fine. And if you don’t have Chinese wheat noodles (la
mian), which I used because that’s what I had, use a different noodle.
A word about accompaniments in Chinese cuisine – there’s a lot more to finishing noodle soups and other dishes than soy sauce and chile oil. Briny, savory, pungent flavors, especially from fermented or dried seafood, are characteristic. Condiments such as XO sauce and sa-cha sauce, based on dried scallop or shrimp, and preserved or pickled vegetables, often are added to the finished dish.
Noodle soup with pork and greens
1 lb leftover roast pork, from preceding recipe or any other neutrally-seasoned roast pork recipe, in a chunk
6 c Chinese chicken stock, made as specified below, or 3 c store-bought chicken broth and 3 c filtered water
1 3-inch piece of ginger, halved lengthwise (4-inches if using store-bought chicken broth)
3 cloves garlic, smashed (5 if using store-bought chicken broth)
2 scallions, cut in 2-inch lengths
1/4 c soy sauce
3 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 1-inch chunk yellow rock sugar, or 2 tbsp sugar
1 star anise
12 ounces wheat noodles (la mian)
1 lb leafy green vegetables, including without limitation bok choy, yu choy, choy sum, Chinese broccoli
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 scallions, sliced thinly into rings
Toasted (black) sesame oil
Sa-cha sauce (such as Bull’s Head)
Place a deep pot over medium heat and add a small quantity of vegetable/canola oil. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and sauté until aromatic. Reduce the heat to low, and add the water or chicken stock, the Shaoxing wine and soy sauce, star anise, and the pork. Bring to a simmer and do not allow to boil.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook the greens until just crisp-tender. Remove from the pot with a skimmer or slotted spoon, return the water to the boil, and cook the noodles.
Drain the noodles, rinse, and immediately divide into a number of bowls (4-6 depending on hunger level). Just before serving, when noodles and greens are cooked, add the dried shiitakes to the broth/pork and cook until tender; remove and cut off the woody stem; slice thinly. Remove the pork and slice thinly across the grain. Add greens, sliced pork, sliced mushroms, and broth, ladled through a chinois, bouillon strainer, or a fine mesh sieve.
Garnish with scallions, red chile, sesame oil, and sa-cha sauce.
Chinese chicken stock
Do you make a lot of Chinese noodle soups? If so, consider making and freezing a Chinese chicken stock. The process is considerably less complex than classic French stockmaking.
5 lbs chicken wings, backs, necks (or other spare parts)
1 4-inch piece ginger, sliced
4 scallions, sliced into 3-inch segments
several white peppercorns
6 quarts cold filtered water
Bring the ingredients just to a boil and skim continuously. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Strain through a chinois, use or chill down immediately, and store unused portion in refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several months.