(Family Features) "If I wasn't a BBQ expert, I'd be cooking soups like this one all day long," said Chef Ray Lampe, BBQ expert and author of the just-released cookbook, "Pork Chop." He's referring to his modern interpretation of a classic comfort food dish, Pork Chop Noodle Soup - a dish he says is "a better cure for the common cold," filled with chunks of juicy, perfectly seasoned pork as well as carrots, celery, a blend of savory herbs and tender rotini pasta.
Flavors that take you back
Like many feel-good foods have the tendency to do, Chef Lampe's pork chop soup recipe takes him back to his youth, when "soup day" was an extra-special time for his family.
"Anytime my mom took the big pot out of the cabinet and got all the different ingredients ready, we knew it was going to be a good day," he said. "Today, when I get a craving for my mom's cooking, I often add something that makes it all-around heartier and tastier - like bone-in ribeye pork chops. The hardest part is not eating the chops before the soup is ready."
Warm, comforting dishes
After simmering all day on the stove, a bowl of Chef Lampe's soothing, heart-warming, pork-filled soup is the perfect complement to a grilled Swiss cheese sandwich or a fresh salad - whether you're feeling under the weather or just craving a little pick-me-up.
Remember, for juicy and tender chops as an ingredient or center-of-the-plate star, cook to an internal temperature between 145°F (medium rare), followed by a three-minute rest and 160°F (medium), using a digital thermometer to ensure accuracy.
For more inspiration on giving comfort food favorites past and present a fresh twist with pork, download the National Pork Board's free "Cooking For Comfort" eCookbook at www.PorkBeinspired.com/cookingforcomfort. Share your own comfort food recipes at www.PorkBeinspired.com/porksocial and look for Lampe's "Pork Chop" cookbook wherever books are sold.
Recipe: Pork Chop Noodle Soup
Courtesy of Chef Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ, from his cookbook "Pork Chop" (2013, Chronicle Books)
- 3 ribeye pork chops, bone-in, about 3/4-inch thick
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups chicken broth or pork stock
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 2 large celery sticks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 cup dried rotini pasta
- Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chops and cook for about 4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and cook for 4 minutes more, until golden brown. Transfer chops to plate and set aside.
- Pour half of chicken broth into pot, scraping all browned bits from bottom. Add remaining chicken broth, vegetable broth, onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Add 1 quart water, thyme, basil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Add chops back to pot and return to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to break up chops.
- Transfer chops to plate, trying not to break them up. Set aside to cool. Raise heat and bring soup to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 12 minutes, until tender. When chops are cool, pull them apart, discarding all bones and fat. Add meat back to soup and stir well. Taste for salt and pepper, and add if needed, before serving.
Yield: 8-10 servings