Monday, November 9, 2009

Thai Chicken Soup

Tonight's dinner was a quick-to-prepare soup with Thai flavors. I stumbled across the recipe this weekend and it appealed to me for several reasons.

First, I love a soup where the chicken is simmered with the rest of the ingredients, then removed, shredded and put back in the pot to mingle again for a few minutes. Not only does the flavor of the meat enrich the broth, but the chicken is always so tender when cooked this way. Second, I haven't had Thai food in a while, and the ingredient list of coconut milk, Thai curry paste, cilantro and lime called to me. Finally, it seemed like the soup would be very easy to put together after a day of work, and it was.

I wished the soup was a bit spicier (I could have added more curry paste but I didn't want to overwhelm the more delicate palates at my table). I fixed that by adding a squirt of sriracha to my bowl just before serving.

I have the feeling this soup will only get better with age, so I'm glad we didn't finish the whole pot tonight.

Thai Chicken Soup
Serves 4

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 15-ounce can coconut milk -- light is fine but not as flavorful as full-fat
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes -- with juice
1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skinned chicken breast
4 scallion -- sliced, white and green parts separated
1/4 cup red bell pepper -- diced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice -- white, brown, black or jasmine
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Thai fish sauce
salt and pepper
sriracha sauce
lime wedges

In a Dutch oven or large heavy soup pan, blend the chicken broth, coconut milk and curry paste. Set the pot over medium heat. Add tomatoes, chicken, scallion whites and bell pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken and return it to the pot.

Stir in the cooked rice, cilantro, scallion greens, lime juice and a dash or two of fish sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Add a squirt of sriracha and serve with a lime wedge on the side.

Adapted from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass

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