Mushroom and Short Rib Noodle Soup
Flashes of hot and cold. I used to run up the subway steps, as fast as one could possibly run when surrounded by the pounding of hundreds of other shoes all hurrying home after the the nine to five grind. Leaving the warm, acrid train station, I would emerge to the blustery sidewalks above ground, where I would make my way to the steam covered windows of the noodle shop. Once inside the fogged-up restaurant, I would smile at the owner. Two quarts, please. My usual order. The plastic containers would be filled, one set with tangles of noodles, the other with the steaming broth.
At home, this simple dinner would be the perfect meal on a cold night. The balance of broth to noodle and the morsels of meat and vegetables were pure comfort.
I find myself craving a good noodle soup, and it doesn’t have to be 30 degrees outside for the cravings to surface. But that broth…to me, that is the key to a good noodle soup. A broth that is light but hearty, clean but flavorful…that is what I look for, and what I try to achieve when I recreate noodle soup at home.
With fall around the corner, I found myself with an appetite for noodle soup. As I stirred the pot of Mushroom and Short Rib Noodle Soup, I had to remind myself that less is more. Earthy mushrooms and thinly sliced beef are mere highlights…what matters most is the broth and the noodles. As my chopsticks dipped into the noodles, I was finally satisfied. The day’s franticness washed away.
September is National Mushroom Month, so I thought I would join in the fun with a week of mushroom posts. Stay tuned for a giveaway later this week!
Mushroom & Short Rib Noodle Soup
Yield: Serves 4-6.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 rounds ginger
⅓ lb shiitake mushrooms, trimed and sliced
12 cups beef stock (purchased is fine, but if you have homemade*, even better)
1 ½ lbs beef short ribs, sliced shabu-shabu** style
fresh greens, such as spinach or kale
your favorite egg noodles, about 8-10 oz
chives or scallions for garnish, sliced
chili oil (optional, if you desire heat)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and allow to cook until the onion is transparent. Take care not to brown the garlic. Add the mushrooms and stir, cooking until the mushrooms are tender and wilted. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to a simmer. Season the broth to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the noodles until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Add the beef to the broth. As the slices of meat cook, you may wish to skim any foam off the top of the stock for a more clear soup. Add the greens (spinach, kale, bok choy. mustard greens, etc. all work).
To serve, place a portion of noodles in the bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles. Garnish with chives or scallions, a drop or two of sesame oil, and if you want a little heat, some chili oil. Serve hot and enjoy!
Prime Rib Beef Stock
3 left over prime rib bones, with some meat
1/2 onion with skin attached
3 stalks celery
8-10 cups water
In a dutch oven, cover rib bones, onion, celery and carrot with about 8-10 cups water. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer over low heat for about 3 hours. Strain stock and store in air tight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Reserve meat for soup.
** You can find perfect thin slices of beef short ribs, soup ready at your local Asian market. At the butcher, look for shabu-shabu style sliced meats, ready for traditional hot pot meals.
* I have used both homemade stock and store bought. Do whatever works for you and your schedule. I have included my recipe for Prime Rib Stock - when we indulge in prime rib, I save the bones to make this flavorful beef stock.