I'm back from NYC and can you believe that it was actually warmer than Oakland this week! I tried a few new fun spots including Fish Cheeks, Westville Chelsea and Black Seed Bagels while I was visiting the city to attend the James Beard Foundation summit. Yup, I ate a lot and I ate well!
I have a few hot sauces and mixes in the door of my refrigerator at all times. Some hotter than the others, each of them unique in their own way which is why they occupy a special place in my heart. There's the usual suspects of Sriracha, Tabasco, Crystal, sambal oelek, lunu miris, harissa and always some gochujang. Whenever in a pinch, these sauces and pastes can transform your meal and take things to a whole new level. Now tell me, what do you include in your hot sauce inventory, anything you think I need to add to mine?
This gochujang flavored broccoli soup is one of my favorite ways to make a simple soup a lot more flavorful but it should also give you an idea of how you can change things too. Since gochujang has such a unique flavor, it won't make your soup feel like it's been flavored with any ordinary type of hot sauce.
There's also a recipe for my fiery winter chicken salad in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, that's easy to make and it has a good dose of blood oranges and yogurt for that little extra nudge of flavor.
- Use your favorite brand of gochujang and kimchi. There are so many good ones available in stores these days, it's hard to go wrong.
- Use fresh bright green broccoli florets when making this soup. I usually add almost every bit of the broccoli available, just trim off the stem end that's at the end that was cut from the plant.
- I've used the California Olive Ranch, arbequina oil here because I prefer it's color and fruity flavor profile.
broccoli, thyme and gochujang soup
yields: about 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves + extra for garnish
4 cups diced broccoli florets with stems
2 cups water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kimchi juice
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons gochujang
2 tablespoons arbequina olive oil or any other fruity olive oil
1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized thick bottomed stockpot on medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion and sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes until they start to brown. Then add the garlic and thyme and cook with constant stirring for about 40 seconds. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the water, vinegar, kimchi juice, pepper and salt and increase the heat to high. Bring the contents to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 12 minutes until the broccoli just starts to get tender. Transfer the contents of the stockpot to a blender along with the gochujang and pulse until combined. (Be careful since the liquid will be very hot). Once the mixture is velvety smooth, return the contents to the stockpot and adjust the heat to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add more water if desired, if you want a thinner soup. Serve hot with toasted bread and garnish with extra thyme and a few drops of the arbequina olive oil.