Superb Soups

Friday night soup

I often cook up a feast for dinner on Fridays when both girls are home from school and the family is complete. Last Friday, we had the Asian-style chicken lollipops and this pork and vegetables soup. This soup is similar to my version of picadillo but using strips of pork belly instead of beef short ribs and minus the tomatoes. To round up the flavors, I added chopped parsley just before serving.

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Needless to say, you need good quality broth to make this soup (see tips for homemade broth). Unless your pork belly comes with lots of bones, boiling the meat in water won’t give you a rich base. I had broth that had been sitting in the fridge for three days and, after the 21-hour blackout that hit our area when typhoon Basyang lashed across Luzon last week, I wanted to use the broth pronto before it spoiled.

Serves four to six.

Ingredients:

300 g. of pork belly, cut into small pieces
2 onions, finely sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsps. of cooking oil
2 chayote, peeled, cored and cut into one-inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
about 6 c. of good quality broth
patis (fish sauce), to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsps. of chopped parsley, to garnish

Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Add the garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant. Add the pork. Cook until no longer pink.

Pour in the broth. Season with patis and pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the pork is tender, about 40 minutes.

Start adding the vegetables. Chayote takes longest to cook so add the chayote cubes first. Simmer for five minutes. Then, add the carrot cubes. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Finally, add the potato cubes and simmer for 10 minutes until all the vegetables are done.

Turn off the heat. Taste the broth. The potatoes are likely to have absorbed a lot of the saltiness so you you may have to add more patis. When you’re happy with the taste, stir in the chopped parsley. Serve the soup piping hot.

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