Roasted Vegetable Soup
Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I was first inspired to use roasted vegetables in order to make soup after one of my fellow bloggers, , Lola Rugula, posted a recipe for a Roasted Garlic and Vegetable Soup. Up until then, I had never even thought of trying it and I was very pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavor that resulted. Here, I have made a soup using roasted Cauliflower, Leek, Carrot and Parsnip, all four of which are beautifully enhanced by the rich flavors produced during the roasting process.


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A Chinese 滷水 Master Sauce
A Chinese Master Sauce

The Chinese 滷水 Master Sauce is less a sauce than it is a highly aromatic braising stock in which a succession of meats are cooked in the Chinese 红烧, or ‘Red-Cooked Style’. The sauce infuses all the meat or poultry cooked in it with delicious flavors and a beautiful, red-brown color, while becoming richer and richer with each use. The broth can be re-used again and again, and it I said that there are some Master Sauces that have been in continual use for generations.

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Preserved Pork Belly and Daikon Soup
Preserved Pork Belly and Daikon Soup

Preserved Pork Belly and Daikon Soup

In this recipe, I have used homemade Chinese-Style Preserved Pork Belly, and homemade Pickled Daikon to make a soup in which the sweetness of the cured pork is offset and complemented by the sour tang of the brine-fermented vegetable. The rich Chicken Broth base is enhanced with Ginger, Shaoxing Wine, and just a hint of Chili.


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A Jellied Rich Brown Bone Broth
A Jellied Rich Brown Bone Broth

Making a Rich Brown Bone Broth … or Brown Stock … or whichever.

The picture above may not look much like a broth, but, when chilled, a very rich broth that has been prepared with lots of collagen containing bone, skin, and connective tissue will form a thick, highly nutritious jelly when cooled.

The recipe here uses bones and attached meat which are first roasted before being simmered, and this gives the resultant broth (or stock) a deep brown color. In classical Western Cookery (chiefly from the French tradition), this makes it a ‘Brown Stock’, in contrast to a ‘White Stock’ where the meat, and any vegetables used, are sometimes blanched, but not roasted.

Traditionally, a ‘proper’ Brown Stock is made with Veal Bones, but, here, I am using a mix of Beef Marrow Bones and whole Pork Hocks with the skin still attached.

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Pork Belly and Conpoy Soup
Pork Belly and Conpoy Soup

Pork Belly and Conpoy Soup

The Pork Belly in this soup is actually the Chinese-style Preserved Pork Belly, or 五花臘肉. It adds a sweetness that plain pork belly does not have and it richly complements the umami flavor of the dried Scallops known as ‘Conpoy’. The main flavorings of  the soup are developed in a good, hearty Chicken Stock, and rounded out with Ginger, Chinese Dried Black Mushroom (aka Shiitake), and Goji Berries. It is a very hearty soup, and perfect for cold, wintry days.


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Vichyssoise - Cold Leek and Potato Soup
Vichyssoise – Cold Leek and Potato Soup

Vichyssoise

Two things… First of all, the name of this Classic Soup is pronounced ‘Vishee-SWAAZZ’. Many North Americans pronounce it ‘Vishee-SWAH’, as though omitting the final consonant were the truly refined and properly Frenchified pronunciation. It isn’t.

Secondly, thick soups of pureed leek and potato have been around forever, but the version created in the early 20th Century and named ‘Vichyssoise’ has traditionally been served cold, often at very formal meals. Personally, I like this type of soup served nicely chilled, but I also love it served piping hot with crusty bread. In French cuisine, a hot ‘Vichyssoise’ would more properly be called a ‘Potage a la Parmentier’.

Of course, you could always just call it ‘Leek and Potato Soup’


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Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters
Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

Canned Oysters are a pale shadow of the freshly shucked real article, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely. I always like to have a can or two in my pantry for those times when fresh oysters are not available, or for when you just want to put something together quickly, without all the usual shucking around. This super quick chowder recipe makes a nice hearty dish for one, if served with crusty bread and maybe a small salad, and a lovely little starter soup for two.


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Kimchi Soup with Pork
Kimchi Soup with Pork

Kimchi Soup with Pork

Kimchi is not merely a side-dish, or pickled snack. Rather, it is often used as a cooking ingredient as well. Most notably, it can be added to fried rice, used as a primary ingredient in particular types of Korean stews known as Kimchi-jjigae, and is also used in a class of soups collectively called Kimchi-guk.

Today’s recipe is a simple and straightforward Pork and Onion Soup to which I have added a good, healthy dollop of my homemade Basic Kimchi to give it a sour and spicy finish…


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Chinese Superior Stock - 上湯
Chinese Superior Stock – 上湯

Chinese Superior Stock – 上湯

A good Basic Chicken Stock is essential in the Chinese kitchen but for very special soups or other dishes suitable for the banquet table, a very rich broth known as ‘Superior Stock’, or 上湯  (pronounced shàng tāng), is required.

Basically, a traditional Superior Stock is prepared using chicken, pork and ham, the latter very often the prized Chinese ham known as ‘Jinhua Ham’. A select few other ingredients are used, ginger and scallion usually, but not much else in the way of vegetables are added. It is a very rich and complex preparation and a good stock can make all the difference between a mediocre dish and one that is truly special.


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Basic Pork Stock
Basic Pork Stock

Basic Pork Stock Recipe

A stock made with raw pork bones, skin, and meat is sometimes called a ‘White Stock’, or even a ‘Milk Stock’, in Chinese cookery, because, unlike a thin, clear Chicken Stock, for example, it is quite opaque and somewhat ‘milky’ in appearance.

As such, a Basic Pork Stock doesn’t have quite the same elegance those used in refined soups, or banquet dishes, but, as a ‘rustic cousin’, so to speak, it is has a rich and hearty goodness that  is very versatile, and particularly popular for use as a Ramen broth , or other style ‘soup-noodle’ dishes…


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