gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth {gluten free + paleo option}

Guys! Seattle is still sitting RIGHT on the middle of the fence with this whole nice weather business. My solution? Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth! It’s the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets. Because what’s the fun of resisting new spring veggies just because the weather isn’t exactly cooperating?

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.
 
Full disclosure here.. I’m totally obsessed with this soup and I’m not even sorry about it.

It’s a brothy, umami rich, green spring vegetable loaded bowl of goodness and I’m reaaaally excited to be sharing the recipe with you guys! I made this for the first time a while ago.. and just re-made it again right before I left for the Everything Food conference. It didn’t all get eaten before I left so I tucked a container into the freezer so I would have a healthy meal to come home to when I got back. And while I wouldn’t recommend freezing it (the veggies got a little soft and turned a weird green color) I still happily ate it when I returned 🙂

It’s that good.

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.

ground pork in my soup, though?

 

YESSSS! Please do it. I feel like ground pork in soup lends itself especially well to asian flavors, and this gingered pork soup is no exception. The internet does not exactly agree with me on this point, but trust me when I say that it’s beyond amazing. Maybe it’s not so much that the internet doesn’t agree with me, it’s just that the internet doesn’t yet know how awesome it can be. For some reason a couple of months ago I got this intense, out of the blue craving for an asian soup made with ground pork, so naturally I jumped on google to see what I could find.

It was basically world wide web crickets 😱

Surely I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good idea?

I found a lot of recipes for asian soups made with pork meatballs (which we’ve already done! Remember this recipe for royal pho broth with cabbage ribbons and vietnamese spiced pork meatballs? SO YUM!), but nothing made with straight up ground pork, which for some reason is what my craving was specifically calling for. There’s something about the texture of it, and all the delicious broth and veg that you can get in each bite that just totally makes it an awesome eating experience. It’s almost like a de-constructed meatball situation.

So I just went into full on experimental mode.

The first soup that I made was a spicy coconut base with caramelized onions and cabbage. Pretty darn good but didn’t quite hit the spot of what my taste buds were searching for. Sometime’s it’s like they have a life of their own, ya know?

And then I remembered this incredible umami rich szechuan peppercorn broth that I used to make for the family I nannied for. It was served with seared black cod and mushrooms – a recipe from Epicurious that you can check out here. Then I KNEW I had found the perfect starting point for the bowl that I had been trying to make real.

It was game on.

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.
 
So let’s get into the details of this perfect gingered pork, szechuan peppercorn broth + spring vegetables combination.

First things first, let’s get the obvious question out of the way…

what is a szechuan peppercorn?

 

Szechuan peppercorn is actually not a peppercorn at all. Don’t you love it when the “people who give things names” do that? I’m sure it got that name since it resembles the look of a black or white peppercorn, and has some similar qualities, but still – so confusing! 🙃

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.
 
Not at all spicy, they have a bit of a citrusy, almost woodsy flavor, and impart a very distinct tongue numbing sensation, thanks to a little chemical in the berry called hydroxy alpha sanshool. If you’ve never tried szechuan peppercorns before you’re in for a pretty unique culinary experience! It’s a flavor and sensation like no other.

You may have, in fact, already have had it without even knowing. If you’ve eaten your fair share of Asian or Indian food I’ll bet you have, as it’s one of the 5 ingredient’s in chinese 5 spice, which is commonly used in those cultures.

Since this peppercorn is not super well known in the western world (it was banned for 40 years in the United States because it was thought to be a carrier for the disease citrus canker!) it can be a little tricky to find, and can also go by a variety of different names. Your best best for tracking it down is to check your local asian market or specialty food store and look for it under any of these names – sansho, dried prickly ash, dehydrated prickly ash, dried peppercorn, flower pepper, Indonesian lemon pepper, or the Chinese Mandarin name – Hua Jiao.

It will most likely be living next to to other dried herbs and spices, and is recognizable by by it’s pink to reddish hue and similar look to a peppercorn.

The other option for buying it is the amazing spice shop, Penzey’s. We have a physical store here in Seattle near Pike Place Market, but you can also easily order from them online. The quality is great and it’s not too expensive.

And now the next obvious question..

how do I make a broth with szechuan peppercorn?

 

It’s so easy! I swear the base of this soup is the best way to make an incredibly flavorful broth without much effort at all. Many recipes recommend toasting the peppercorns before adding them to whatever dish you’re preparing, but I didn’t do that here and the flavor definitely came through. It might be worth a try though, if you’re into the idea.

For the broth you’ll add thinly sliced ginger, shallots, garlic, some coconut aminos and the szechuan peppercorns and bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let the flavors settle into the broth. And that’s it! Seriously!

The best part of that process is that while the broth is simmering away you have the perfect amount of time to prepare the rest of the recipe. Which makes this soup not only incredibly delicious, but also really fast to make.

Delicious + Fast = MAJOR WIN!

and then come the green spring vegetables

 

What we’ve all been waiting for, right?! As we trudge through the depths of the winter they’re the light at the end of a long cold tunnel.

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.
 
In my version of this recipe I chose to use fast cooking asparagus and peas, but if you want a paleo option (avoiding peas – which are technically a legume), or just want to go a different route, you could sub in any number of green spring vegetables. Here’s some ideas to get your wheels turning:

  • baby kale
  • leeks
  • rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • fava beans
  • spinach
  • cabbage
  • zucchini

I have no doubt that this soup would shine with any combination of those vegetables, however you may have to adjust the cooking time to match whichever you choose. I personally LOVE the combination of asparagus and peas, their shape and texture just shine, and the slight sweetness of the peas pair perfectly with the umami rich mushrooms + broth.

AKA a match made in HEAVEN!

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets. Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets. Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms - it's an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.

 

Want more delicious pork soup recipes? Check out these favorites!

did you make this recipe? I would love to know how it turned out for you! when you rate my recipes and leave feedback it helps me continue to improve. you can leave me a comment below, or snap a picture and post it to instagram and tag me for a chance to be featured in my insta stories! @nyssaskitchen and use the hashtag #nyssaskitchen! xo 

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gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth {gluten free + paleo option}

Gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth made with asparagus, peas and shiitake mushrooms  – it’s an umami rich bowl of goodness and the perfect way to warm up AND indulge in some of the new spring vegetables that are making their way into our markets.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

for broth

  • 6 cups beef, mushroom or chicken broth
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 inches of ginger, thinly sliced (peel on is okay)
  • 1/2 tsp whole sezchuan peppercorns (may substitute black or white peppercorns)
  • 1/3 cup coconut amigos

for soup

  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet peas

Instructions

for broth

  1. Bring broth, shallots, garlic, ginger, peppercorns and coconut amigos to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When done simmering remove from heat and set aside.

for soup

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat with avocado oil and add ground pork, pressing flat to about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Cook undisturbed for a few minutes. Check by lifting up the edge to see if it’s starting to brown.
  3. Once pork is brown on the first side, flip it as best you can and, and brown on the second side.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and garlic granules, add the sliced mushrooms and break apart pork so no large pieces remain.
  5. When pork is fully cooked, and mushrooms have softened, add coconut aminos and continuously stir, allowing coconut aminos to reduce and cling to pork and mushrooms. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  6. When broth is done, strain over pork and mushrooms and bring up to a slow simmer.
  7. Add asparagus pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Add sweet peas and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 3 minutes before the final seasoning.
  8. Taste to check seasoning – add more salt or coconut aminos if desired.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Depending on the fat content of your pork, you may want to refrigerate soup and skim the fat off the top before serving. I didn’t do this because I actually aim to consume healthy fats from pasture raised pork and I think it add a good amount of satisfying flavor – so it’s really an option of preference!

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “gingered pork soup with green spring vegetables and szechuan broth {gluten free + paleo option}

  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous)

    now that you said it, i can’t think of any soups with just ground pork either! sure, soups with meatballs or pork-filled wontons, but usually not ground pork. this sounds delicious though, especially since ginger and onions and mushrooms are so warm and cozy in flavor to me (:

    Reply
    1. Nyssa Tanner Post author

      Totally, Heather! Warm and cozy for sure I keep wishing it be nice by now in Seattle but we’re still stuck in a rain cloud! So warm and cozy SPRING soup it is!

      Reply

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