An old T & T (tried and true) recipe; I've been making it for close to 25 years. The recipe comes from that huge coffee-table size book, loaded with gorgeous photos ~ "China the Beautiful" by Kevin Sinclair/The Knapp Press.
The soup/stew goes by the intriguing name of Lion's Head Soup (Shr za tou). In the book it is actually referred to as a stew, but I always call it soup.
Here you see it in a medium size serving tureen, which gives some idea of the size of those "lion's heads".
The original recipe calls for lean ground pork, but I've always made it with either ground turkey or ground chicken simply because lean ground pork is more difficult for me to find, unless I grind my own.
There are some variations of the recipe, but is generally made from ground meat which is seasoned with minced scallions, minced ginger, dry sherry and salt, then formed into very large balls (about 2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter) and simmered in broth. I use chicken broth.
General amounts (you can vary according to your own tastes); For one and a third pound of meat; 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons minced scallions, 1 to 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 1 tablespoon dry sherry, 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.
The cooking pot is layered with cabbage, the meat balls, and another layer of cabbage. Boiling broth is poured over all, enough to just cover the meatballs. The pot is then covered tightly and simmered on a low flame/heat for an hour and a half. You would think the meat would turn to unpalatable rubber, but instead it is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
By now, you may know that I sometimes take liberties with recipes and this one is no exception. I didn't have cabbage on hand so I cooked the meatballs in the broth as directed, I added a few sliced cremini mushrooms. When the soup was finished simmering for the I stirred in some torn red chard, and slivered snow peas (pea pods), then just garnished with carrot slices.
An important note ~ the last time I made this I simply minced skinless chicken breasts in the food processor, I don't recommend doing that for this recipe, the meat does need a little fat so I suggest buying your meat, as it usually has a little fat in it. I prefer turkey for this recipe, but chicken will do (as long as it has a little fat in it.)
It's a delicious soup; quite surprising that such simple and few ingredients meld into such a comforting, flavorful bowl of goodness.
This is the second soup I chose to make for our Saturday Darling Baker cook-along.
Our next event will be CUPCAKES!