You read the title right. It wasn’t a typo or a bad translation from Chinese. This isn’t a Chinese recipe at all. There is an old family farm not far from here. They grow vegetables and have a road side stand and they keep a lot of chickens, truly free range chickens. The master of the estate is in his 90s. He still works hard at it and gathers hundreds of eggs each day, not always in the henhouse. He carries them in the bucket back to the house. Sometimes he loses his grip, and some eggs get cracked. He was a child of the first Great Depression, so he doesn’t like to see anything going to waste. His daughter works the farm with him. Our daughter gets the eggs for her household there. She was looking for bargains to hard boil some for the folks on the street. One thing led to another.
They started giving us their strictly fresh, cracked eggs. The ones that are intact enough to hard boil, we do so, and chill for the guys on Thursday night. They were happy to get some free range chicken eggs! A number of the men we serve are old time country boys. About a dozen were still fine and fresh, but too cracked to hard boil. I just used them as another ingredient in the soup for last Thursday.
- ~1-1/2 gallon of home made chicken broth
- 10 pounds of ground chuck
- 1-1/2 dozen free range chicken eggs
- 1 head garlic, peeled
- ~2 cubic inches fresh ginger root
- 3 large Spanish onions
- 2 pounds broccoli crowns cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 pound carrots sliced
- avocado oil
- 2 fennel, diced, fronds & all
- 2 each, red, yellow, orange, sweet peppers
- 2 pounds radishes, quartered
- 2 pounds fresh baby spinach
- 2 Tablespoons Albanian sage
- 3 Tablespoons turmeric
- a generous dousing of hot sauce
- 35 twists of medium grind black pepper
Heat up the chicken broth in the 22 quart stockpot. In a large, cast iron skillet, fry the ground chuck in batches of about 1-1/2 pounds at a time with a diced half onion and a garlic clove pressed onto it. Grate some of the ginger over each batch. Once the meat is almost done, add some of the eggs and mix around with your spatula. Keep frying until cooked, breaking up the hamburger , mixing all the spices and eggs in. Add to the pot. That doesn’t require constant attention, so keep chopping.
Slice the carrots and quarter the radishes and add them to the pot. Cut the tops off the fennel, dice and add to the pot. Cut up the broccoli and add to the pot.
Once you are done cooking the ground chuck, clean the skillet. Saute’ diced fennel bulbs and pepper and any remaining onion in avocado oil, until they start to caramelize. This releases the umami. Add to the pot. You may need to add some water. At some point, you should transfer the stockpot into the double-boiler, canner set-up, to prevent scorching. Cut up the spinach and stir into the soup. Add hot water if necessary. Add the remaining spices. Add hot sauce to taste. Don’t overwhelm it. We always have a bottle on site for people to add it themselves. You can always add it. You can’t take it out.
Let it heat in the double boiler until you need to load it into the Igloo container to take it to the venue where you are going to serve it.
This soup took all day to make. It was well worth it! The people loved it! I saw something I have never seen before, in over 25 years serving food in the parks. The only cup of soup that someone tasted and abandoned, because it did not suit them, was claimed by someone else after we ran out! Talk about not letting things go to waste!
This was the soup that we served along with Cranford’s Cocoa Madness and Trooper’s Spaghetti and loads of sandwiches and iced tea and bananas and oranges and pastries and peanuts in the shell. Over 150 people showed up. No one went away hungry. We gave three men rides home in the TKJ-mobile, two others by way of SEPTA fare money. Two of the men we dropped off are faithful volunteers who were going to be helping a man move off of the street into permanent housing on Saturday. We sent an Operation: Clean Start bucket and a Kitchen Jumpstart bag along with them. We need to gather more household goods for him and for two other men who recently moved into new digs. Please check our Facebook page or call me to see what they can use.
I am going to state the obvious here.
All of this cooking and serving and gathering of things, and other ingredients, time, and car, etc., costs money. You could have a share in this ministry by donating on an automatic monthly basis. I am tired of people telling me how special I am for what I do. I really can’t help myself. I am not that special. I can only give away what other people give me. I am just asking you to feed my addiction. It is you who will be blessed. I pray that God will bless you mightily.