Did everyone have a super fantastic holiday?
I’ve been on vacation and loving every minute. I even took a mini vacation from blogging and spent the majority of my days reading, relaxing and basically joyous over the lack of class and work, heaven!
But anyway, reality is back and it’s a bit of a culture shock. Work from 9 – 4, class from 5:30 – 9:30 then home to make dinner…
See why I was jealously guarding my holiday?
Either way, that’s not what we’re here for. Cincinnati has been enjoying relatively mild weather (sunny and in the 40’s). Well apparently Winter got pissed and has come back to smack us with a vengeance. It’s freezing! Snowing and with a bitterly cold wind.
Have I mentioned I truly believe I belong in a tropical environment? Or that my apartment building has no heat right now (the heat pump is broken – the landlord says he’s working on it) and my windows are paper thin? I’m already on the countdown to summer.
The only good thing about Winter is the amount of comfort foods and soups it inspires.
I threw this together because one, I was cold, and two, I have a piece of pork loin to use up. Some homemade stock with a bit of 5 spice for a little warming spice deliciousness make the perfect base. Throw in some of the vegetables lurking in my crisper drawer and you have a satisfying soup (and two to four happy people eating it).
This is a bit inspired by a Chinese hot spot, although obviously not at all traditional but the feeling is there.
- 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1 lb pork loin, cut into ¾ inch pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 ½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp dry sherry
- 2 to 3 tsp sambal ooelek
- 2 Tbsp hoisin
- ¾ lb cubed peeled turnips
- 1 1/2 cups baby carrots
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 tsp cornstarch, divided
- 6 – 8 oz baby spinach
- Toss pork with 1 Tbsp soy sauce, then coat with 1 tsp cornstarch tossing to combine. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add pork and brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onions, ginger, Chinese 5 spice, and garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return beef to pan. Add chicken stock, water, remaining ¼ cup soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry and hoisin; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour.
- Add the turnips; simmer for 25 minutes. Add carrots, continue to simmer another 20 minutes until everything is tender. Combine 1 tablespoon water and remaining 1 tsp cornstarch, mix well add to pork mixture. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add spinach; cover and cook for 3 minutes or until wilted.