My daughter spotted this soup in the latest issue of Fine Cooking and put in her request. The days are getting warmer (even here) but I thought there was still time to sneak in one more soup. For this soup, I decided to start with a whole chicken and make my own broth. I must confess, I don’t always do this. In fact, I rarely do it. (I also wish I did though :)
Instead, for soup, I would usually give in to the time-and-energy-saving temptation of boxed chicken broth and boneless chicken breasts. And if you want to do that with this soup too, I won’t judge :) That said though, the homemade broth was oh-so-yummy and there was enough chicken on the whole chicken (which cost only $8) for this soup and several sandwiches for lunches later in the week. So it’s yummy and economical.
This soup is a cross between Vietnamese pho and Japanese udon noodle soup. Use soft, vacuum packed udon noodles or you can substitute with any Asian style soft noodle (as opposed to the dry noodles). I used a soft asian stir-fry noodle. I also added some greens (I used baby bok choy and spinach), as well as adding the carrots into the soup instead of as a garnish. I liked mixed mushrooms in my soup, for the various flavours and textures. Use whatever kind you like.
With all the comfort of Mom’s Chicken Noodle soup, great Asian flavours, a bit of peppery heat and plenty of vegetables, you’ll feel great about eating this soup. I suggest making a big batch. It freezes well and is perfect for those times when only chicken soup will do.
Asian Style Chicken Noodle Soup
Summary: Instructions are included for making this soup starting with a whole chicken and making homemade chicken broth OR using boneless chicken breasts and store-bought broth. If you can’t find lemongrass, look for lemongrass puree in a tube in the produce section, as it’s widely available anymore and sometimes, easier to find.
- For Homemade Chicken Broth (if using):
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Bay leaf
- Optional (use em if you’ve got em): Fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme etc.
- For Soup:
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 3 medium shallots (or 4oz. sliced onion), peeled and thinly sliced into rings
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise, and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
- 1 carrot, cut into thin matchsticks a couple of inches long
- 3-1/2 oz. shiitake (or regular) mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (1-1/2 cups)
- 5-1/2 cups homemade or store-bought chicken broth
- 2 cups of cooked chicken (from whole chicken meat as above, left-over or simply microwave chicken breasts)
- Baby bok choy, baby spinach or other greens of your choice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 9 oz. fresh udon noodles
- 1 Thai bird chile (or 1 small serrano or jalapeno pepper), sliced into thin rings
- 8 large fresh torn basil or parsley leaves; plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce; more to taste
- 2 medium green onion, trimmed and sliced, for garnish (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
- 1 medium lime, half juiced and half cut into wedges
- For broth: Roughly chop vegetables and place in the bottom of a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Rinse chicken and remove giblets, if necessary. Place chicken on top of vegetables in pot (for a lower-fat stock, remove the skin before cooking). Add water to just cover chicken. Bring water just to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low. It’s best if the water doesn’t bubble, as this may make your stock cloudy. Cook, covered for 2-3 hours. Remove chicken and vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet with a large slotted spoon. When chicken has cooled a bit, carefully remove cooked chicken to a plate, discarding skin, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Return any juices on the baking sheet to the pot. Strain the stock and reserve or refrigerate.
- If you have time, refrigerate stock until fat hardens on the top and skim off with a spoon. If not, just carry on making the soup, as described below.
- For the soup: Heat 1 Tbs. of oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add the shallots to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the shallots start soften, about 2 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the ginger and lemongrass sizzle and become fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the carrot matchsticks and mushrooms and cook until lightly softened. Add the chicken broth, bok choy (or other greens) and cooked chicken .Raise the heat to medium high. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots and mushrooms are cooked and the greens are softened. Discard the lemongrass. Stir in the chiles, torn basil, lime juice, and soy sauce. Taste and season with more soy and/or salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and divide between 4 large, deep bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, and garnish with the basil sprigs, green onion and cilantro, if using. Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 3 hours | Total time: 3 hours 15 min
Number of servings (yield): 8
Adapted From Fine Cooking March 2010 | Photo