Hot Pot Soup

One of my favorite winter foods is soup and this one is guaranteed to keep you warm, thanks to the red pepper flakes.  (If you’re not a fan of “hot” foods, by all means adjust that fiery ingredient accordingly.)  But don’t be shy.  Heat is a good thing in the middle of January.

Chock full of goodies cooked “hot pot style” (ala Chinese fondue), I concocted this soup a couple of years ago when my sister and I went on our very first “grown-up girls” vacation – smack dab in the middle of summer.  (There’s a warm thought!)

We stayed at a cabin equipped with every culinary gadget I’d ever dreamed of, so it seemed only natural to be adventurous in the kitchen.  Maybe a little too adventurous.  I’ve since cut down on the amount of red pepper flakes.

By the way, this soup is very subjective.  I’ve made it using beef broth, chicken broth, chicken & beef broth combined, or — in a pinch – boiling water and whatever flavor of instant bouillon was handy.

Speaking of pinches… the measurements are subjective, too.

I have very large hands (!) — great for piano playing, but no so great for indicating exact measurements.  Since the size of everyone’s “pinch” differs, think of this as more of a “guide” than a recipe…

Hot Pot Soup

8 oz. sirloin or ribeye steak, sliced into thin strips

12 small mushrooms, thinly sliced

5 green onions, thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled & thinly sliced

4 radishes, thinly sliced

5 c. beef or chicken broth (or a combo of both)

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of cloves

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of dry mustard

Prep the steak and veggies to have at the ready.  Slice everything as “whisper thin” as possible (and if you really want to “pretty it up,” slice on the diagonal); set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine broth and seasonings; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.  If desired, strain out some (or all) of the red pepper flakes before proceeding to the next step.  (I do.)  They’re pretty zippy…

Carefully add the steak, mushrooms, green onions, and carrots.  Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.  Add radish slices; heat through.

Using a slotted spoon, arrange meat and vegetables in bowls.  Ladle a small amount of broth over the top.  Enjoy!

Serves 4.

By the way, if eating with chopsticks isn’t your cup of tea (or bowl of soup), it’s ok to use a spoon.  My big hands aren’t very adept at “two prong” eating – but it’s fun trying. :)

Enjoying nature’s thermodynamics,

~ Kim