Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Second Life: Ginger Pork and Rice Turns into a Delicious Soup

"Never waste food." When my grandmother showed me how to cook scrambled eggs, she ran her finger inside the shell to get out all the egg. Waste made her crazy. My mother was the same way. When we'd go to a restaurant, what we didn't eat, came home, much to my father's embarrassment.

To my mother, the prime rib my father didn't eat at Lawry's, reheated at home, made a great snack, and it was free. The gigantic baked potato with sour cream and chives I couldn't finish, turned into the best breakfast potatoes. I learned that the food we brought home from the restaurant had a second life...if you know a couple of tricks

Yesterday I was doing an errand and stopped at Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese supermarket, that always has great sales on high quality meats and produce. The food court inside doesn't make allowances for Western tastes. Mitsuwa has the feeling of a Tokyo-style market.

From Misasa, one of the half-dozen food stands, I bought a bento box lunch with ginger pork, miso soup, a small piece of tofu with bonito flakes, steamed Japanese rice, and pickled daikon. Everything was delicious but I couldn't finish the ginger pork or the steamed rice, so I packed them up and took them home.

In the morning I turned the left-over ginger pork and steamed rice into a hot soup with rice, pork, carrots, and broccoli. The flavors from the bento box lived on, reconstituted into a nourishing soup, perfect for the rainy day. Which made me happy, because it tasted great and because I didn't waste any food.

Creating a hearty soup, using a cooked meat and rice, fresh vegetables, and a stock, is really very easy. All it takes is remembering to bring home the left-overs.

3 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup ginger pork, cooked, sliced
1 shallot, peeled, sliced
1 carrot, washed peeled, cut into 1" long batons
1 small broccoli florette, washed, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup steamed rice, cooked

Heat the chicken stock on a medium flame. Add the pork, shallot, carrot, and broccoli. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cooked rice and cook another 5 minutes.

Serves 1. Preparation Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes.

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