Saturday, February 19, 2011
Cold Enough For You?
Generally speaking when you have absolutely nothing to say to another person, you talk about the weather. I know this not only because I am relatively socially awkward, but also because my building is equipped with the world's smallest, slowest elevator. It is very, very uncomfortable to stand in silence when you are less than an inch away from another person, especially when you see this person on a semi-regular basis. This winter though, the weather has done its damnedest to keep things interesting for those of us forced into frequent small talk. There's the snow, the ice, the lack of parking available due to the snow and ice, the treacherous nature of brick sidewalks especially when coated with snow and ice. And when we've enjoyed a break from the joys of precipitation there has been an undue amount of cold, punctuated by blistering, bone-rattling wind, intent on making sure that cold is blown directly into the very core of your being.
And this soup is for those of you who have been suffering this winter. It will absolutely warm you up, even if you're at the point where you're pretty sure you'll never be warm again. It won't make you think of tropical beaches and bikinis but it will coat your insides with a nice little fire. Feel free to tinker with the recipe, I certainly did.
ASIAN CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
I found this delicious recipe over at Lady Gouda and modified it slightly, but it should be fully acknowledged that she is the brains behind this.
1-2" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T veggie oil
1/2 C onion diced finely
roughly 2 C sliced shiitake mushrooms (I used the whole package I bought)
3-4 shredded carrots (I julienned mine but I highly recommend using a mandolin)
2 C cooked chicken - I wasn't thrilled about the chicken, I felt I could have skipped it
5 C chicken broth + 1 C water - my broth was homemade and very rich so it could stand up to the supplement of water, I highly recommend using all broth.
3 T soy
2 t sriracha - this made for some seriously spicy soup, a plus in my book, but dial it back if you're wary of heat (but also don't expect it to warm you up as much either!)
3-4 heads of baby bok choy, white super crunchy bits trimmed off and well rinsed (they can be sandy).
3-4 scallions, sliced very thin (and on the diagonal)
3-4 oz rice noodles, cooked
gluten-free note: Get gluten-free soy sauce and check labeling, but sriracha should be gluten-free as should be your rice noodles.
In a large pot, over low heat, saute the garlic and ginger and onion until soft. Add the mushrooms (I think you could add the carrots here too, I added mine at the end with the bok choy and they cooked fully). Add the chicken, the soy and sriracha. Toss well until everything is coated. Then add the stock. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. While it's cooking, prepare the rice noodles according to the box - my box offered a choice of soaking them for 25-30 minutes which I really didn't have time for and boil them for 4-6 minutes which I did. My other bag has no English on it except for the words "rice noodles". Toss in the bok choy (the carrots too if you didn't add them earlier) and the scallions. Cook for about 2-4 minutes until the bok choy is wilted and tender. If you did as I advise below, add the cooked rice noodles.
A note about rice noodles: I cooked mine separately. I've had to overcook pasta before because I'd added it to cook directly in the soup and then the soup wasn't ready and the pasta ended up gross. I will not be burned again. I boiled my rice noodles separately and added them in cooked at the very end. Do whatever you think is best.
A further noodle note: I chose rice noodles because they were the only one of my several types of Asian noodles that advertised on the box that they can be used in soup. I had (very thin) soba noodles and mein noodles too. I'd planned to try all different ones but when I realized I would be the only one home for dinner my motivation disappeared. I would love to hear about further noodle experimentation.