I mentioned this soup on one of my Yahoo groups–in a post about how do you use the things you can?–and I got a request from AFoodJourneyToGo.com’s biggest fan–Sheila in GA–that I put the recipe up on my blog.
Of course, darlin!
This is a soup I often enjoy at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Seattle’s International District, a place called Four Seas. It’s one of the first Chinese restaurants we tried when we moved to town in 2003, and it’s still a favorite today … in no small part because they a) have good food and b) have a parking lot. That’s almost unheard of in the ID … known for its great food … and nightmare parking!
I don’t know that Westlake Beef Soup is really “Chinese” … except in broad terms, maybe. You know, the restaurant is Chinese and the people who work there are Chinese … so, of course, if they cook it and serve it … then it’s Chinese food. And the soup does have that classic Egg Drop/Egg Flower (depending on where you live) profile, in that you heat broth and stream beaten egg into it …… but you just don’t find a lot of ground beef like that in Chinese food … and “Westlake” is the name of a popular street in downtown Seattle …. so I’m thinking this particular recipe may have evolved locally … and may be a nod to more American tastes.
The soup is easy to make, and it’s one of those meals that definitely lends itself to using your canning to speed up your meal prep time.
Lane’s Westlake Beef Soup
- two quarts clear chicken broth
- one pint browned/canned ground beef
- one medium onion or (in my case) two-to-three tablespoons dehydrated onions
- two small cans or one #15 size can water chestnuts, drained and rough chopped
- approx. 2 tablespoons cornstarch…more/less depending on how thick you want your soup…mixed with 1/4 cup water
- one cup frozen small peas, or–in my house–1/4 cup dehydrated peas that I’ve poured boiling water over for at least 15 minutes before using
- two eggs, whisked together in a small bowl, but set aside initially
Combine the first four ingredients (broth, beef, onion, and water chestnuts) in a pot and bring to a boil. Depending on how seasoned your chicken broth is, adjust the mix at this point to be a nice, salty chicken flavor.
Boil until the onions are cooked clear, then add cornstarch/water slurry and peas to the pot. Stir to mix. Heat to a boil again.
Once the soup is back to a hard boil, pour the beaten eggs into the soup a little at a time. If you want your eggs to break up small, use a whisk to stir your soup as you add the eggs. If you like your eggs a bit more chunky, just pour them in slowly, and let the boiling broth disburse them.
Once all the eggs are in the pot, turn the heat off. They cook that fast dropped in all that boiling soup, and you don’t want to over-cook them and make them tough.
Westlake Beef Soup is great on a cold day. If you like, you can add just a bit of ground ginger to this soup, too. It’s perfect if your nose is stopped up!