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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

There are a lot of reasons to make chicken noodle soup. Maybe you're cold and your tummy needs some warming up?  Or possibly your family has had a bad stomach bug — the kind that makes you not want to eat for-evver. (a recent memory at my house) The one thing that always hits the spot is chicken noodle soup — here's an awesome twist — Thai Coconut Chicken Soup. One alteration I made to this recipe was to add Pad Thai noodles — so necessary and so good!

Oh, and one of the most flavorful parts of this soup is the homemade broth.

What You'll Need

1 quart chicken stock, recipe follows
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat side of a knife
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn (optional)
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, rinsed
4 limes, juiced (I cut this back to 3 limes)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Chicken Stock

1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 turnip, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  1. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  2. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
  3. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

What To Do

  1. Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.
  2. Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms, lime juice, and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through; season with salt and pepper. 
  3. To serve, place a generous mound of noodles in each bowl, then top with the hot soup.
  4. Garnish with cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger, or lime leaves.

4 people are talking about food:

Brittany April 21, 2010 4:34 PM  

That looks and sounds delicious but also SO much work! I don't think I'd do all that, especially with a hubby that hates coconut. So how about you just share with me next time you make it? hee hee

Mr. Pineapple Man April 21, 2010 4:59 PM  

that looks so good~ yum yum...i love thai food!

Dulcimer April 21, 2010 5:24 PM  

Now, THIS is my kind of chicken noodle soup! :) Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

Lisa April 21, 2010 6:02 PM  

Brittany - Seriously, you can't taste the coconut — the lime offsets it. AND you can buy chicken stock so you don't have to make the broth. Otherwise it's so easy to make and super tasty!!

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