A soup sufficiently filling and nourishing to be served as lunch for four people. Although Chinese to the core, it will go very well with French bread. Try it.
6¼cups lightly seasoned beef or chicken stock
6ouncesfresh mushrooms, trimmed and cut into thin slices
2-3scallions, green parts only, cut into tiny rounds
Salt and pepper to taste
1teaspoonthin soy sauce
2teaspoonsthick soy sauce
8-20 turns black pepper mill
1-1½teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
2teaspoonsShaoxing wine or medium-dry sherry
Marinate the beef. Put the beef in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauces, pepper, ginger, and wine or sherry and stir to mix. Sprinkle with the flour, then add the water, 1tablespoon at a time, and stir vigorously in the same direction until completely absorbed before adding another spoonful. Pick up the whole lump of beef and throw it back into the bowl 50-60 times. This makes the beef light and slippery in texture. Leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. Blend in the oils.
With your fingers, pick up the 2-3teaspoons of the meat and roll it into a ball about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Repeat with all the beef.
Pour the stock into the wok and bring it to a boil. Add the oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the meatballs. Return the soup to a fast simmer, then continue to cook for about 1½ minutes, if you like the beef balls to be pink in the center, or 2 minutes longer, if you like them to be well done, stirring them around a couple of times. Add the scallions, give the soup another big stir, then remove from the heat.
Taste the soup for seasoning. Ladle the meatballs and soup either into a large soup tureen or into individual bowls. Serve hot.