Monday, January 25, 2010

Cookin’ the Book: Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Shredded Pork & Sherried Tomato Soup


That week after Christmas is a hard one sometimes.  It’s the in between time, when the kids have been home too long, the toys have all been played with, everyone is probably technically ready to get back to a normal routine, but the normal routine is not ready to return to you.  Summer vacation always seems to fly by, but the second week of winter break is glacial in its passage.

With the long days however, came an opportunity to try one of the “all day” recipes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I make Carolina-style pulled pork a few times a year, so pork shoulder and I know each other well.  Hers is such an easy recipe that I decided to try one of the more interesting sounding sides as well.

Ever since she posted it on her website, Sherried Tomato Soup has been tempting me.  Paul and I had dinner the night we became engaged at a wonderful restaurant in Carmel called L’Escargot, and as odd as it may sound, their tomato soup is what I remember best from the meal, which was divine from start to finish.  I’d never really liked tomato soup in spite of being served it approximately 57,000 times as a child.  Campbell’s Tomato Soup is an icon, but I really don’t like it.  L’Escargot’s soup was divine!  I would happily eat it every day for a long time before even becoming a little bit tired of it.

Yet, I’d never made tomato soup myself.  In my imagination it seemed like it would have to be time consuming, or complex to be SO good.  It was time to get over that!

PW’s tomato soup is made almost entirely with stuff you would already have on hand, with the possible exception of the sherry and cream.  In my experience, a bottle of sherry keeps for years and lends a necessary taste to some surprising things—it’s excellent in some Asian recipes—so the cream was the only ingredient bought special this time.

It’s wonderful soup.  It’s not even remotely dietetic.  Make it for a special meal, and be advised a small cup is plenty.  Even my ravenous husband found it to be extremely rich.  This is not a complaint, mind you!  Keep it in mind when ladling it… a cup really is enough.

A couple of days after I made these recipes we had friends over for a very impromptu dinner and served the leftover pork and soup with some other sides I made on the fly.  It was a hit the night I made it, and, I daresay, even better two days later.  The only tricky part was reheating the soup slowly enough to avoid curdling the cream.

You can find recipes and photos illustrating how to make the recipes HERE and HERE.  I hope you try these and enjoy them!

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