Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Soup of the Asian Persuasion

Brodo Asiatico con Straccetti di Manzo e Fagioli
Asian Beef and Bean Soup 

Believe it or not, the basis of this elegant and spicy little soup, was three little slices of carpaccio that I did not end up using last night. They would hardly have made a second meal in themselves and I was loathe to throw them away. So lunch today was a very light, very spicy and very tasty Asian-styled broth... and this is how I made it...

I started out by making a flavor base for the broth- similar in taste I suppose to a Tom Yum Soup. The ingredients I used were garlic, ginger, galangal, lemon grass, red chili and shallot. I mashed these down and ground them up with my mortar and pestle- it just seemed like a lot more fun than using a pre-made paste- although I do also have that at home and have no problem with it. But today I made my paste fresh.

This went into a saucepan with a little sesame oil and a couple of Kefir lime leaves, which I snapped in half first to allow more flavor to be released from them. I fried the paste for a minute or so and then poured boiling water onto it and reduced the heat to a simmer. Basically- that was my broth. It still needed seasoning with salt and pepper, so that went in next, as did the beans, which I cut into thin, diagonal strips. 5 more minutes of simmering and I was ready to assemble my soup! But in order to do that I brought the broth back up to a rolling boil first...

I cut the carpaccio into strips and placed them into my soup bowl, with a few leaves of parsley, (I would have used cilantro if I had had any at home!) and then carefully poured the boiling hot broth over the meat. I made sure to add some of the beans, gave it a good squeeze of lemon juice and added a lemon slice as a garnish- and there it was! An incredible soup in 15 minutes, a deliciously light lunch and a good feeling for having made good use of a leftover of good meat. Which made the whole thing into a good idea!

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