These days, to save on gas, I’ve developed the habit of cooking meat or chicken in bulk, dividing the cooked meat into portions, freezing them and then thawing out a portion for each meal. Not that we have the same thing every meal. Each portion that gets taken out of the freezer is cooked differently from the rest. For instance, I pressure-cooked a kilo and a half of sliced pork pata (hock) a couple of days ago, divided the meat into three portions and two of those three became a rice dish and this soup (the third portion is still in the freezer).
The process saves energy and, more importantly, cooking a meal takes so much less time because the meat is already tender. Of course, pre-cooked meat won’t work for all dishes — like stews, for instance. But for a lot of simple everyday meals, it works.
This soup was also made with the broth in which the meat was cooked. I’m not a fan of soup mixes but I recently discovered that if you use broth in cooking those powdered mixes, they’re not so bad.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 and 1/2 cups pre-boiled pork roughly chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 chayote peeled, cored and cut into one-inch cubes
- 2 cups squash cubed
- 6 cups good quality meat broth (see homemade broth)
- 1 pack of powdered cream of mushroom soup
- a handful of spinach leaves
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a pot. Add the pork and cook until nicely browned. Trust me, the browning process will add so much flavor and texture to the cooked dish so don’t skip this step.
When the meat is nicely browned, add the chopped onion and continue cooking, with occasional stirring, until the onion bits start to soften.
Pour in five cups of broth. Stir and remember to scrape whatever bits may be stuck in the bottom of the pot. Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed. Bring to the boil.
Add the chayote. Bring to the boil once more then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Dissolve the soup mix in the remaining broth. Pour into the pot. Taste. Add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Add the squash. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the squash is done and the soup leaves no flour-y sensation in the mouth.
Stir in the spinach leaves. Cook for another minute.
Serve the mushroom soup with pork and vegetables hot with buttered bread.