The Best Spicy Soup

I've been on a mission for a few years to create a spicy, Asian soup with a broth so delicious, you don't even care whether or not there's anything in it. I made this Korean soup a couple years ago, and it just doesn't even compare. Well, I did it. Finally! I did, in fact, add some delicious ingredients to the broth, but the broth really made it shine. So, here she is. The best spicy soup. 

Disclaimer - There are tons of ingredients required in this recipe you probably don't have in your cabinet. If you want a broth like you get at really good Asian restaurants, you need all of them.

Spicy Szechuan Soup with Chinese Noodles
makes 3-4 bowls

5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
3 tbsp Szechuan chili oil
2 tbsp spicy black bean paste
1 serrano chili (thinly sliced)
2 tbsp black vinegar
8 cups homemade chicken broth*
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 lb. pork neck bones
2 cups uncooked Chinese rice noodles
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
4 scallions (diced)
1/2 cup cilantro (rough chop)
kosher salt
vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place pork neck bones, with salt and pepper,
on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add vegetable oil. Add minced garlic, grated ginger, chili oil, spicy black bean paste, serrano chili and black vinegar. Let the flavors cook together for 3-4 minutes. 

Add chicken broth, dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp salt and bring to a simmer. Add pork neck bones and let simmer for 1 hour, covered. Shred the meat off the bone and drop into the soup. Set bones aside. 

Add Chinese rice noodles, spinach and scallions. Simmer for 3 minutes, until noodles are soft. Dish up, and top with fresh cilantro.

*The dish won't be nearly as good without homemade broth. I make my broth with carrots, celery, onion, dried mushrooms, dried New Mexican chilies (for color and flavor), herbs (thyme, rosemary, cilantro), whole black peppercorns, whole chicken carcass (or whatever you have!), about 3 tbsp kosher salt and as much water that fits into the giant pot I have. Let it simmer covered for 2 hours. Strain and freeze in quart containers. I don't add much salt so I can add it accordingly to each recipe. 

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