Stuffed Cucumber Soup
Sometimes you come across a recipe that is so…how to say politely…unusual, you have to try it just to see if the person who wrote it (ahem, Chrissy Teigen) is pulling your leg. I’m mean, she is trying to convince us that cooked cucumbers are magically delicious. I like Chrissy, in fact, we are BFF’s in my head and I trust that most of what she says about food is the truth. But on this recipe, I began to feel like we might be drifting apart.
The idea of it was intriguing, but what if she is trying to pull a fast one over on us, like she added a “joke” recipe in her cookbook to see how much we really adore her. I mean, the looks I received when I plopped this in front of my crew, varied from nausea to disbelief to flat out yuck-i’m-not-trying-this.
Guess what? They tried it with me. And while I won’t agree that cooked cucumbers are magically delicious, I will say the combination of the flavorful broth mixed with the Thai pork stuffing inside a tender vegetable was a pleasant (non-gross) surprise in both flavor and texture. I liked it enough to share it with you.
I think everyone should eat outside of their comfort zone and this is a good, safe place to start.
STUFFED CUCUMBER SOUP
(adapted from the cookbook, “Cravings” by Chrissy Teigen)
1 lb ground pork
1/4 cup soy sauce: “light” if you have it
6 cloves garlic finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cucumbers, peeled, DO NOT trim ends
3 chicken bouillon cubes (chicken broth did not work for this recipe)
1/2 cup small mushrooms like shiitake or honshimeji. I don’t have access to exotic mushrooms so I used regular white caps and chopped them small.
1.4 cup thinly sliced scallions
Sriracha to taste (optional and probably blasphemy)
In a medium bowl, combine the pork, soy sauce, garlic and pepper.
Halve the cucumbers crosswise. Using a melon baller or a small spoon, carefully hollow out the cucumbers leaving the end in tact by about 1/4 inch (give the cucumber balls to your chickens, they’ll lose their chicken minds!). Pack each cucumber with the pork mixture.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat, combine 10 cups water and the bouillon cubes and bring to boil. Gently add the stuffed cucumbers, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook for another 15 minutes. Transfer a cucumber or 2 with broth to bowls, making sure to get a few mushrooms, and serve with green onions sprinkled on top. This is the place to add Sriracha, if using, although the original recipe didn’t call for it. I found it to add another level of flavor, but it’s up to you.
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