Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup

So, the weather in Sydney's been pretty cruddy lately. In fact, it hasn't really been a great year, weather wise. We went from a non-existent Summer of 90% rainy days straight to a uncharacteristically cold Winter. Which is why I currently have an obsession for soups and stews and braises. Which leads to my second ever savoury post, incidentally also a soup.

Pretty much every day I'm trawling the world of food blogs for soup recipes and photos (yes, just looking at soups makes me warmer). Most of my soup porn seems to be focused on recipes for slowly simmered and braised things, like ox tail soup. And beef brisket. Brisket is something I always want to order in a Cantonese themed restaurant, but somehow seems always to be trumped by some congee, or something deep fried. And every time, after I pay, as I am walking out of the restaurant, I'll see someone's bowl of steaming beef brisket noodle soup and be overwhelmed with sudden food envy (despite being really really full).

I was craving this over the long weekend just past (God bless the Queen), and decided to make it, braving the rain to run out for the meat required (brand new Hunter boots makes this so much more do-able). After a huge steak dinner at home involving parmesan pan bread and green tea tiramisu, the brisket sort of got put on the back burner until later that night, which of course meant I was having a bowl of soup at 2AM. This soup though, is better left until the next day ladled over some freshly boiled noodles and Chinese vegies. Makes for an incredible meal at work.

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup 
This recipe is pretty free for you to play around with. If you like more soup, add more stock. If you like your brisket to be more stew-like, add less stock and more tendon to thicken.

1.25 kg  beef brisket
500g  beef tendon
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
6L beef stock*
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinses cooking wine
1 tbsp black or mixed peppercorns
1 cardamom pod

To serve
Bok choy (or any Asian greens you like)
Noodles (I use white wheat noodles, feel free to improvise)

*Use Asian beef stock. Either carefully select one you like from an Asian grocery or make your own with a combination of beef bones and a bit of meat such as chuck or blade steak. When making stock for this soup, I would suggest staying away from bouquet garni, celery, or parsley as it will change the flavour of the soup.

  1. Place the beef tendon in a medium sized pot and cover with hot water. Boil for 45 minutes or until soft enough to cut.
  2. Meanwhile, cut brisket into 2 inch cubes and set in cold water to soak for 30 minutes to remove excess blood.
  3. Rinse brisket and place in a large pot with the ginger. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat, discarding the water. Rinse the brisket and ginger well with warm running water, pouring off any impurities you can see.
  4. Wash the pot clean. Return the meat to the pot and add the remaining soup ingredients. Bring back up to a boil and turn down to a simmer.
  5. Take the tendon off the heat, and rinse with cold water until it is a manageable temperature. Cut into chunks similary sized to the brisket and trim off any obvious fat. Add to soup.
  6. Simmer until brisket is tender and tendon is meltingly soft (3 hrs for me on very low heat).
  7. To serve, boil noodles and bok choy separately. Layer noodles under the bok choy in a noodle bowl and ladle over the soup and brisket and tendons.



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