Many years ago my employer sent me on a long, all-expense-paid, trip to an exotic foreign locale just before a major holiday. My friend drove me down to the airport, we said our goodbyes, I put my gun in the armory and settled down in anticipation of an early call for the next day's flight.
I woke to an ice storm instead.
After a day or so of 'will the weekly flight go late or just be cancelled' my friend came back, picked me and my gear up, and brought me back home. Where I wasn't supposed to be. I'd already celebrated the holiday, emptied my fridge, given away my houseplants and sent my dog ahead to my spouse. It was a weird few days, of being there when I wasn't supposed to have been there, my brain straddling what was happening with what should have been happening.
My friends invited me to many meals during that time, and it was during one post-holiday gathering that I had the most comforting bowl of chicken soup. It was chicken and rice, and I know my friend's mom added some food coloring to make it more visually appealing, but no matter. A mom made me chicken soup when I needed some nurturing and it was good. A few days later I left on my deployment without any weather-related or other drama, but the memory of what a good bowl of chicken soup can do for you stayed with me.
As you can see from the title, this is not your run-of-the-mill chicken noodle soup. It's got a Thai twist because I had opened jars of Thai ingredients in the fridge, and the wonderful food bloggers I turned to for advice suggested I use them up in soup. My recipe is an adaptation of both Kalyn's Thai Chicken Soup recipe and Winnie's Thai-inspired Chicken Noodle soup. I used what was on hand in my pantry, and I like my substitutions enough to write up the recipe on its own. We ate this soup as chicken noodle soup for dinner, using a large handful of rice noodles. The next day, since soup is better the next day, I brought this plus my rice cooker to serve chicken and rice soup for lunch at work. If you need a little nurturing, and can access Thai ingredients (see NOTE below), keep this soup in mind. Use coconut milk, not cream, if you like, or chicken breasts, not ground chicken, add sliced Bok Choy if you've got it in your CSA farm share--but do add the peanuts, fresh herbs, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice for garnish. It's very tasty.
NOTE: My Thai ingredients came in jars from Harris Teeter, which seems to trump even the Asian grocery stores I've searched here for finding these particular ingredients. If your mom can't go to Harris Teeter, get them, and bring them to you, I recommend checking the freezer sections of natural food stores as well as Asian markets near you. Once you source them, you won't use much and they keep well, so keep your eyes peeled--especially if you or a friend or relative goes on a trip near a Teeter.
|I don't recommend simmering the spoon in the stock for very long. I was just trying to get the 'stuff' to stay on the top so you could see it, and the spoon fell in when I grabbed the camera.|
NOTE: I created this recipe to be gluten free through my choice of ingredients. Check labels to confirm that your products are also gluten free. Good sources for determining that your products are gluten free can be found here:
Thai Inspired Creamy Chicken Noodle soup (serves 8-12)Flavor the soup base:
3 qts chicken stock (see how I make mine)
3 teaspoons galangal
3 teaspoons kaffir lime leaves
3 teaspoons lemon grass
3 teaspoons Thai basil leaves
1/2 small jalapeño
Add the rest of the ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
4 carrots, diced (tops and tips to the composting guinea pigs)
4 green onions, sliced (save the bottoms to regrow and replant)
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 can coconut cream
Serve with garnishes:
chopped cilantro leaves, up to 1/4 cup per bowl
chopped mint leaves, up to 1/4 cup per bowl
chopped peanuts, up to 1 Tablespoon per bowl
softened rice noodles or cooked rice (1/2 cup per bowl)
Place the ingredients for the soup base in a pretty purple pot or whatever heavy-bottomed stock pot you prefer. Bring to a simmer, over medium heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Drain out the solids and return the flavored stock to the pot. Add the chicken through sriracha, and simmer another 15-20 minutes, stirring to break up chicken initially, until the chicken and carrots are cooked through. Stir in the coconut cream and heat through. Serve with noodles or rice, and garnish with any (I like all) of the garnishes suggested, followed by a squeeze from a lime wedge.
If you're a vegetarian, how would you adapt for the chicken in this recipe? Here's how Meghan made her Thai Inspired Vegetable Soup!
This post is shared with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up, What's Cookin' Wednesday, From The Farm Blog Hop, Food on Friday (thrice).