Radish or Turnip Soup

makes 6 cups

This is modified from a Chinese recipe that calls for pork, but you can make it using tofu (instead of pork) and vegetable stock (instead of water).  The recipe does not call for the greens on the radishes and turnips, but I think they make a tasty and nutritious addition to the soup.  The soup can be made hours or a day in advance.  The original recipe is from David’s favorite Chinese cookbook “The Key to Chinese Cooking” by Irene Kuo ( Knopf, 1977).  The book is out of print, but available from used-book sellers online – David got his for $10.

½ to 1 lb of pork shoulder or butt, cubed, or meaty spareribs, chopped.  OR  1 lb firm tofu, cut into ½” cubes.
½ lb radishes or white turnips, including greens, all sliced
4 cups water OR 4 cups vegetable stock
4 quarter-size slices of peeled ginger
salt to taste

Bring the 4 cups of water or vegetable stock to a boil with the ginger.  Add the meat or tofu, and when the water boils again, turn the heat low, skimming the surface until clear.  Bring to a boil again and then adjust the heat to maintain a weak simmer.  Cover and simmer for 1½ hours for pork (30 minutes for tofu), stirring once in a while.  Season with salt to taste.

Add the radishes or turnips and simmer for another 30 minutes, covered.  Remove the excess fat (if present) by spooning off the transparent layer; scoop out the ginger and discard.  Adjust the salt to taste.

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