Pork & Udon Soup

Every Friday or Saturday, usually as we’re nearing the end of dinner, I say to my husband, “So, what do we want to eat next week?”

It’s a habit of ours to talk about food while we’re eating. It seems an appropriate time.

Often during autumn or winter, my husband will say, “Udon!” Sometimes he says it even during summer, when soup doesn’t always make an appearance on the weekly menu. My response is usually, “I’ll check the weather,” because I prefer a cold evening for udon soup, because it’s a meal that will warm you up and keep you warm for a good long while.

This weekend, we’ve had freezing temperatures, a not-so-common occurrence in our area of Texas, even in winter. My go-to Pork & Udon Soup recipe seemed like a perfect meal to end a cold weekend, especially since we’d be getting back up into more reasonable temperatures in the coming week.

What is Udon? Besides fantastic? Udon is a thick wheat noodle of Japanese origin. And by thick, I mean thick. It’s not like an Italian noodle, or even a ramen noodle. Think much thicker. As a result, it’s doughier and heartier, and it’s delicious. There are a dozen ways to make udon soup, depending on how you flavor it and what you add to it. What I use is a simple recipe that’s overflowing with vegetables and pork. It’s probably not an authentic udon soup – it is Food Network, after all, and though the effort is sometimes there, authenticity doesn’t always follow. But, it is a tasty udon soup recipe, and the pork – while not cha siu levels of delicious – still delivers on taste and is really simple to make.

I will note that I don’t follow the recipe 100%. First, no onions, because we are a no onion household. Second, I use whatever stock I happen to have. This time around, I used three cups of seafood stock and five cups of water. Still tasted fine. Third, I don’t use just soy sauce to add flavor to the broth. I also add toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. I just like the depth they add to the flavor. Makes it a little more interesting. Fourth, I don’t usually bother with the cilantro (because I don’t like it) and the bean sprouts (because they only come in large packages and we don’t need that much of them). Fifth, regular cabbage and mushrooms are fine. No need to get fancy.

This recipe makes a ton of soup. It says 4 servings, but those must be huge servings, because we can get almost twice that much out of a batch. Or maybe we’re just eating smaller servings. Either way, for us, there is more than enough for lunch and dinner leftovers. It’ll keep us warm and full for days.

Udon noodles go into the bowl first and then are topped by ladles of hearty, flavorful broth.

Udon noodles go into the bowl first and then are topped by ladles of hearty, flavorful broth.

A nice big bowl of warming udon soup.

A nice big bowl of warming udon soup.

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