Sunday, February 23, 2014
Kosmo's Hot and Sour Soup
There is a lunch counter in Kerrytown in Ann Arbor that is known the unofficial cafeteria of nearby Community High. It serves an eclectic mix of Korean and diner food, most notably bi bim bop, which my children, who are now teenagers, still call "Korean breakfast", because that is what I told them it was when they were little. It has a fried egg on top, so why not???
They do make outstanding bop (I prefer mine "Old School" style, sans egg but I get the pickled daikon instead) but I am sad to report they no longer offer the VERY BEST THING on their menu, which was their hot and sour soup. Years ago, I wrote into the Ann Arbor News Kitchen Mailbox to ask them for the recipe - it's the one and only time I wrote into the Ann Arbor News for a recipe, and they came up short. The owner of Kosmo wouldn't divulge it; so instead they offered up some weird recipe that included "wood ear" and other exotic ingredients. I used to eat that soup every Saturday morning at about 7 am when I was doing my A2 Farmer's Marketing, and so when I perched on my usual stool at the lunch counter, the owner of Kosmo, whose name is Don, came out and asked me why I ordered it. I told him it was my favorite and that I even went so far as to write the A2 News for the recipe. He is a super nice guy and he took pity on me and told me the basics how to make it. Just yesterday, I went there to get my usual breakfast and it's no longer on the menu. That makes me sad, but the bop is SO GOOD, I just got that instead. Here's how to make it at home, since you can no longer get it there....
Kosmo Style Hot and Sour Soup
1 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut in 1/2 in dice (I often just use pork tenderloin)
4 14 or 15 oz cans reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup grated carrots
2 small onions, sliced thin
3/4 c. white vinegar
10 small Thai chili peppers, diced (you can use any hot pepper and it will work fine)
1 t. fresh ground black pepper
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 brick extra firm tofu
1.4 c. reduced sodium soy sauce
Put the pork and the chicken broth in a crock pot and cook it for about 4 hours on low. Add the carrots, onions, peppers and pepper and let it cook for another 4 hours on low. Add the tofu and soy sauce and mushrooms and let it cook until the tofu was heated through. Serve! Warning: this stuff is habit forming.