Sunday, March 17, 2013

Drop It Like It's Hot

What the Heck Do I Do With All This Leftover Fried Rice? Egg Drop Soup With Leeks and Greens!
It's been a long time since I have written. Not that I haven't been cooking . . . but in the midst of directing Three Sisters, over a full load of classes, and the limitations of my annual Lenten vegetarianism, I've been relying on old favorite recipes rather than much experimentation. Well, I'm back. The show is closed, spring is right around the corner, and kitchen creativity is beckoning me! This first recipe since my blog-sabbatical is based on one of my favorite culinary challenges: leftovers. Tonight's culprit: Fried rice. We've all had white take-out containers taking up precious refrigerator space. I made an absolutely lovely batch of Bon App├ętit's Shrimp Fried Rice for last Thursday's dinner with my gluten-free friend, Arin. The rice was a hit, but even three hungry people couldn't finish off the generously portioned recipe. Since Friday morning the rice-filled Pyrex has been staring back at me every time I've opened the refrigerator. Leftover rice. I've put it into burritos before or just resigned myself to eating it no matter how increasingly dry and unappetizing it became. Thankfully, in this instance, inspiration hit . . . egg drop soup! This hearty, easy, and quick protein-packed soup is a standby in my house. Thanks to our own eager flock of lovely chickens, we always have an abundance of fresh eggs and I have made multiple variations on this recipe - usually with noodles. This batch was whipped up in about twenty minutes. I used some mustard greens, but any hearty bitter green will do (kale, chard, whatever). I topped my sweetie's portion with a little shredded chicken breast, but left mine vegetarian (although it did spice it up with a generous Sriracha topping).

- 2 c. leftover fried rice 
- 6 c. vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. cooking sherry
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 leeks, trimmed, rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise
- salt and pepper
- 1 bunch mustard greens (or other bitter greens), stems removed and roughly chopped
- 4 eggs
-  2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise

It certainly was a tasty batch of shrimp fried rice, but after we had picked out all the shrimp . . . it was well . . . just rice.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce-pan, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add sliced leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft, sweet, and begin to turn translucent. Season lightly with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add vegetable or chicken stock and turn heat up to high.

When the broth is brought to a boil, add soy sauce, rice vinegar, sherry, sesame oil, and leftover rice. Lower heat to a simmer and add torn greens. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes until the greens and softened and bright green. Remove lid and raise heat back up to medium-high so that broth comes to a boil.

Carefully crack eggs into soup and let boil 3-4 minutes until eggs just begin to set. Carefully stir broth mixture so that whites and yolks are drawn into long threads through the broth. Remove from heat. Season to taste with additional salt or soy sauce. Ladle soup into bowls and top each with several drops of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sliced green onions. Enjoy!


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