|beautiful Vietnamese herbs from my parents|
My parents had another productive summer of gardening in Maine. They came to visit with a carload of potted herbs, vegetables and herbs that my father already washed and placed neatly in plastic bags, as well as a lot of prepared food and 2 bottle gourds. If your parents are like mine then you should consider yourself very lucky. Perhaps I should never complain since I know some mothers don't even cook for their own family, let alone make lots of extra food to deliver to their adult children and even their children's neighbors. Despite the fact that I actively blog about my own cooking, my mother thinks I don't get enough to eat or am just too busy with working in the clinic to cook.
I have some leftover ground pork and roasted duck so I made a soup using the smaller of the fresh organic gourds. Typically I make this type of soup using pork bones with some meat on them because they make excellent sweet broth. If you do not have these bottle gourds you may substitute using winter melons. Those are sold in Asian markets.
Check out my previous post on Stir-Fried Gourd and Chicken in Oyster Sauce.
|bottle gourds from my parents|
|bottle gourd soup|
A little drizzle of oil
10 oz ground pork
1/4 cup Dried Shrimp (store bought or home-made) hydrated, washed, and drained
A few pieces of roasted duck
About 12 cups water
3 lbs bottle gourd, peeled, large mature seeds removed, sliced thinly to bite size
A few thin slices of fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
A handful of Chinese chives, cut into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch lengths
In a large pot (preferably at least 5 1/2 quarts) saute pork, shrimp and duck in a little oil. Once the pork is just cooked add water, gourd and ginger. Once the liquid starts to come to a boil turn the heat down slightly and let everything cook for about 5 minutes. Frequently skim off the impurities and scum that float to the top. Do not cover the pot while it is cooking. This process will make your broth clear (instead of cloudy). Season with salt and sugar. Turn off heat and add the chives.
*This soup is not too salty so season it according to your taste.