We have long been a subscriber to Cook’s Illustrated but recently switched over to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. I realize that Mr. Kimball’s departure from Cook’s Illustrated was a bit rough, but I also felt that the recipes and cooking tips in Cook’s Illustrated were becoming a bit repetitive.
Mind you, both magazines are great, but Milk Street offers a more exotic recipe with unusual tastes from around the world. In particular, I enjoyed a lovely recipe of “Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup,” that author Soben Pin explains is always featured at a Vietnamese buffet. If so, I will be attending Vietnamese buffets frequently.
Found below is the recipe for this delicious soup which I understand works for both the Mediterranean and Paleo diets. I made a few minor substitutes and did add the spinach.
Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup or Canh
- 1 pound of ground pork
- 6 scallions white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced and reserved separately
- 1 large egg white beaten lightly
- 3 Tablespoons fish sauce divided
- 4 teaspoons fine grated fresh ginger divided
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
- 2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 4 medium garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth about 8 cups
- 1 bunch watercress cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (4 cups lightly packed)
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice 1 to 2 limes
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion whites, egg white, 1 Tablespoon of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Mix with your hands. Lightly moisten your hands with water and form the mixture into 20 balls (each about the size of a generous Tablespoon). Set on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate!
- In a large Dutch oven heat the oil (medium temp) until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Add remaining 2 teaspoons of ginger and the garlic and cook till fragrant (30 seconds). Add the broth and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the head to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the onion is fully softened - about 10 minutes.
- Add the meatballs then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce the heat to maintain the simmer and cook undisturbed until the meatballs are cooked through - about 8 to 10 minutes (160º interior). Off heat, stir in the watercress and remaining 2 Tablespoons of fish sauce. Let stand until the greens are wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and white pepper, then stir in the scallion greens.
Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup
This is a wonderful recipe full of exotic flavors. Definitely worth trying for those who want to step out the routine of bland foods.