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Deconstructed Dumpling Soup

April 30, 2009


This is a story about a spring fling between pasta, peanuts and pickles.

Before you recoil, let me explain.

First of all, it’s spring. The temperatures skim 80 after a long winter’s slog, flowers bloom, parks become one seething mass of sunbathers, and crazy things happen.

Secondly – and I know you’re going to have to suspend disbelief here – the soup tastes like a deconstructed dumpling. Hey, they’ve been cooped up all winter too! So if a dumpling wants to skinny dip in a peanut sauce broth, who are we to judge?

Now the pickles are clearly the weirdest entry to this party, the kind that showed up in boots to a black tie affair. But let’s not stereotype – under that kosher exterior there’s a sour South Asian panache.

Look, I’m no dumpling expert, but when these flavors start to cozy up they conjure steaming bowls of noodles past, slurped on the streets of Beijing and Bangkok. 

Or maybe I’m just smitten. After all, love is in the air.

Deconstructed Dumpling Soup
Adapted from Sunset, 2001

1 T. sesame oil
3 T. finely chopped sour pickles (cornichons or dills)
1/2 lb. ground pork
Peanut sauce (recipe below)
4 cups chicken broth
1 package fresh fettuccine
1 bunch chopped scallions, reserving some for garnish
2 T. finely chopped roasted, salted peanuts

Peanut sauce: In a bowl, stir to blend 3 tablespoons each peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil; 2 tablespoons each seasoned rice wine vinegar and sugar; 1 teaspoon hot chili flakes or chili-garlic paste.

In a large pan, heat oil and stir pork over high heat until crumbled and lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Mix pickles and peanut sauce with meat; add broth and cover pan. When mixture is boiling, uncover, add fettuccine. 

Simmer until pasta is tender, about 3 minutes. (If you’re not using fresh pasta, cook it separately until al dente and stir in at the end).

Stir in chopped scallions. Serve, and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and scallions. Makes two generous servings.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2009 5:12 pm

    i love this! i was looking for a good noodle soup to make for lunch today and i think i will try this!

  2. Judy permalink
    April 30, 2009 6:59 pm

    Next frontier…we make those noodles FRESH.

  3. Susan permalink
    April 30, 2009 7:23 pm

    “Deconstructed dumplings” – love it! And love the soup.

  4. April 30, 2009 7:46 pm

    wow this sounds super yummy!


  5. May 1, 2009 4:28 am

    sounds pretty cool Liz! btw, I went back to ye ole ramps hunting grounds last on Monday for one last collection, and a big pickling jar!

  6. May 2, 2009 3:50 am

    Sounds/looks wonderful to me. Pickles actually work in lots of things that people would typically cringe over. I once made a Salmon w/ Dill Pickle butter & people thought it was a little strange. ‘Twas not… I loved it!

  7. May 2, 2009 1:32 pm

    I didn’t think it sounded weird at all! Quite love the idea and it seems wonderful to me! Now I love all the various ingredients here, so that – ofcourse – helps!

  8. May 4, 2009 1:02 am

    What an interesting flavor combo. It looks super tasty.

  9. Jenny permalink
    May 9, 2009 1:32 pm

    Looks de-lish! If you want to be more ‘authentic’, you could replace the peanut butter with Chinese sesame paste (not the same as tahini). I think it’d be worth a try (and it’s quite similar to peanut butter in texture and taste as well).

  10. Liz permalink
    May 9, 2009 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Jenny. I’ve never used Chinese sesame paste before – I’ll definitely give it a try.


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