Neck Bone Soup!

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Asian Style Soup With Pork Neck and Mushrooms

If you’ve never spent a Sunday morning wandering around a massice Chinese grocery store, wondering what the hell all those strange, wonderful smells are, you’re really missing out.

This past Sunday, that’s exactly what I did, and the results were some new and different condiments, some incredible braised pork belly, and a delicious Pho-style (For lack of a better phrase) soup. I know Pho and Ramen are not the same thing, and I know both have a variety of ingredients and techniques that make them special, authentic, and absolutely delicious. With that said, my approach to this soup was to just get something in the vicinity of one of those soups – Flavorful, spicy, and suited for rice noodles. I think I actually did alright.

The Meat

Just your basic pork neck bone.

marinating-meat-2

The Spices

I started off by rubbing the meat down with a paste I concocted using chili sauce, canola oil, and a few different kinds of spices. I wish I could be more specific, but one spice pack was literally just labelled “Spice Powder” and the other was called “Oriental Special Mixed Chili”. Here are the packets:

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I’m pretty sure the “Spice Powder” was the classic Chinese 5 Spice combo: cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns. It’s a defining flavor of a lot of Szechwan food. Dan-Dan Noodles comes to mind for me.

The second pack was spicier and less heavy on the Anise/Fennel flavors. Still a really aromatic and flavorful addition. I went much heavier on this spice.

The Broth

The broth had two main components. First, I re-hydrated some dried mushrooms in water, rice vinegar, and Sriracha sauce. After sitting for around a half hour, the remaining broth had a ton of flavor. Second, I browned the meet for a while, and let the fat and juices flow out into the pot. Once the meet had browned for a while, I added a bunch of the mushroom water (Carefully skimming liquid from the top of the bowl so as to avoid any residual grit that washed off the shrooms.) I also threw in a few dried chili peppers during the early phases of cooking the stock out of the neck bones.

Again, I have no idea what kind of mushrooms these were. Here’s the package:

mushroom-packet

The Veggies

Once the meet was cooking in its broth (And once I moved it to a bigger pot) I added in the mushrooms and a few bunches of Bok Choy. I let that stew for a few hours on low heat, adding water and more of the spices to keep it flavorful.

The Results

The results were awesome. As someone who doesn’t dabble a lot in Thai or Chinese cooking, I was thrilled to be working with such different flavors. Here are a few things I’d do different:

  • Slice the mushrooms: Leaving them whole was just a lazy move. The larger caps weren’t ideal from a texture perspective.
  • More Umami: I wish I had added some MSG or fish sauce to bring out a little more of that distinguishing quality.
  • More Meat: The PNB only offered a little bit of real meat, which I tediously cut from the bones once everything was cooked.

There you have it, the original recipe of Roger’s Pork Neck Bone Soup. Let me know how you’d do it different in the comments below, and check back onto the site for more recipes, and whatever other nonsense I’m thinking about!

Ingredients

  • One Package of Pork Neck Bone
  • One Pack Dried Mushrooms, re-hydrated
  • Three Dried Chilis
  • Spice Blends (Described above)
  • Bok Choy (Three or 4 Bunches)
  • Chili Paste
  • Sriracha
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Rice Noodles

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