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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thai Chicken Soup

The weather has taken a turn for the worse here in New Jersey!  Walking out of my apartment yesterday morning I was confronted with a torrential downpour.  By the time I got to work, the temperature had dropped by ten degrees and the wind had increased by twenty miles per hour. 

The weather seemed to deteriorate as the day went on.  By lunchtime, the winds howled and a chill began to take hold.  Shortly after returning from lunch we sat in our office (discussing highly intellectual things like chemical bonding and cell assays) (actually, I think we were talking about food), I looked out the window to discover hail bouncing off of the windows.

Waiting on the train platform everyone looked like cows, with their backs to the wind.  Forty mile per hour gusts blasted us commuters, tearing through even the thickest jacket, scarf or hat.  I was never so happy to see the train lights cutting through the night.

In an effort to warm up, spicy soup was in order.  Luckily, this soup was ready in no time flat.  The stock and chicken were prepared this weekend, the thing that took the longest time was cleaning the mushrooms!  Boyfriend and I were warm in no time!

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Thai Chicken Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light

This chicken for this recipe is from the soup stock we prepared earlier this week.  Once it comes out of the stock pot, let it sit on a sheet pan and cool for a while.  Once you can handle it without burning your hands, tear the chicken apart with your hands or two forks.  If you didn't make stock this week, I like to use those grocery store roasted chickens, they work just the same!

1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (3-inch) stalk lemongrass, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tsp chili garlic sauce (mine has a rooster on the jar and is written in Vietnamese)
3 cups chicken stock (homemade or prepared)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces and cut in half lenghtwise
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
juice for 1/2 lime

In a 4-quart pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, bell pepper, ginger, garlic and lemongrass, cook for 3 minutes.  Add chili sauce and cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar.  Stir and bring to a simmer (liquid will bubble and foam).  Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.  Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes to warm chicken.  Add green onions, cilantro and lime juice.  Serve up a big bowl and warm up!
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