Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

I wanted to add a bit of an exotic flavour to my regular chicken noodle soup as the kids absolutely love it, but my palette was growing weary of the same old recipe.  Everyone loved it (although Devon told me that I am not allowed to stop making plain old chicken noodle soup! LOL!)  This reminds me of a Thai or Vietnamese-style soup (or pho as it is called in Vietnam)!  Hope you enjoy the medley of flavours while getting the goodness of homemade chicken soup!!!

2 1/2 tbsp coconut or grapeseed oil
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, butterflied*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise and bruised with the back of a chef's knife
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (I use my rasp)
2 tsp packed light brown sugar (I used maple syrup)
5 1/2 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups stemmed and quartered shiitake mushrooms
9 oz fresh udon noodles (these are made of wheat so substitute rice noodles if necessary)
1 small Serrano chili pepper finely diced
8 large fresh basil leaves, torn (either Thai or Italian basil)
1 lime, half juiced and half cut into wedges
1 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten free Bragg's)
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 carrot, grated (for garnish)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (garnish)
  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot, over medium high heat, until hot (the oil shimmers when ready).  Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper, and saute until both sides are evenly browned and almost entirely cooked through.  Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool.
  • Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pot with the shallots and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.  Reduce heat to medium and saute until they start to become translucent (approx. 2 minutes).  Add the bruised lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar and stir constantly until the ginger becomes fragrant and lemongrass sizzles (1 minute).  
  • Add chicken broth and scrape up any browned pieces off of the bottom of the pot.  Bring to a boil and them reduce to simmer.  Add the mushrooms and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a medium-sized pot of water a boil and cook the noodles until al dente (still a little undercooked in the centre).  Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process.  Leave to drain well.
  • Either finely sliver or shred the chicken breasts.  Add the chicken and noodles to the broth and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes.  Discard the lemongrass.  Stir in the chilies, basil, lime juice and soy sauce.
  • Portion between 4 large warmed soup bowls.  Garnish each with shredded carrot, green onions, and cilantro.  Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing.
  • ENJOY!

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