Hot Pot
Note that this recipe abandons the traditional and lovely cooking of the meal at the dining room table.
In my experience, the effort is not worth the reward.
Everyone’s experience is different.
End of apologia.

In this recipe, the boiling pot will be carried from the stove to the dining room table.
We will serve ourselves small bowls after small bowls until the Hot Pot is empty and cold.

So set the table with a trivet and soup ladle for the Hot Pot, soup bowls, plates for bones or any discard, soup spoons, chopsticks, and a small bowl for the orecchiette.
A bowl of orecchiette.
Also, small bowls of Asian dips.
I used low-sodium soy sauce and wasabi for this.
But any number of sauces would be fun.

Udon noodles are traditional with Hot Pot.
For me, they are a lot of calories.
For this outing I used the Italian orecchiette, but only 1 oz per serving.
Boil the pasta and remove from pot while still very, very chewy.
They will cook some more in the Hot Pot.

Note that the ingredients for this dinner will vary every time we make the meal.
With the proper chicken stock as our base, everyone of them will be delicious.
Here’s one meal I made recently.

Serves two.

Bring 4 cups of chicken stock (recipe in the website) plus 3 cups of water to a boil.

Thirty minutes before service:
Wash the shells of the little necks and oysters and set them into the boiling broth.
When they open, remove the clams from the broth and then remove them from their shells, reserving the clams.

A deviation from the recipe: the chef’s pre-dinner treat:
Remove the oysters from the broth.
Likely the oysters will not be opened.
Open the 4 oysters with an oyster knife (very easy since the gentle creatures have passed) and, sharing them with your cook’s assistant, swallow them along with the broth in the shell. Oyster stew in its most simple.
Note that we open oysters by inserting the tip of the knife into the rear hinge of the oyster shell and twisting it apart.

Back to the dinner.

Ten minutes before service:
Add into the boiling pot:
1 teaspoon salt
1T fines herbs
4oz red onion
4oz mushrooms
2oz leeks, cut into 2” sections
4oz spinach leaves or watercress
2oz celery, leaves when available, stalks cut into 2” pieces
2oz carrot pennies
Simmer.


Five minutes before service:
Bring the pot to a boil and add:
4 shrimp, size 16-20
4oz squid, tubes and tentacles
2 scallops, u-12
8oz firm fleshed fish like halibut
4 dumplings, bought from market
Simmer for 5 minutes.

At service, when removing pot from stove to table:
Add the orecchiette.
Add small fresh smelts that cook on impact
Add the reserved clams.

The hot pot will come to the table and stay for the duration of the dinner.
Serve the noodles in a bowl. Ladle a little broth from the hot pot over them to keep them loose.
Diners each get a soup bowl and serve themselves, noodles first, and then the hot pot.

Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.
Also, a shaker of spices assembled to our taste. I used a quarter ounce each of ground cumin, ginger, onion, curry, nutmeg, cayenne, and garlic.