Submitted by miranda on 2010-01-29 15:07:14
This soup will take all day to make but it will impress. It’s one of the few dinners that I wish I didn’t have to share.
1 4 lb. chicken
1 white onion
1 quart chicken stock**
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat part of a knife
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 or 2 (8-ounce) cans straw mushrooms, rinsed*
4 limes, juiced***
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken**
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups of cooked white, long-grain rice (y’all know how to make rice)
*I love straw mushrooms, so I use two cans. Do yourself a favor and do not buy cheap straw mushrooms. If you have access to a good asian market then you will have a lot of choices - pick something in the middle, price-wise ($2.75?). A can of cheap straw mushrooms will be undeveloped and resemble zombie eyeballs and can be a real pain in the ass.
***It’s always good, when juicing any kind of citrus fruit, to roll it around on a cutting board, pretty firmly. You want to break up as many of those little juice buds as possible before going to town on that thing with a hand juicer.
Let me say, that you could just substitute with store-bought chicken stock but if you make this soup that way, it’s not going to blow anyone’s mind.
To make the stock, I like to use a baked chicken: remove the giblets of a room-temperature, four-pound bird; throw it into a roasting pan with some quartered onions and then into a preheated, 425 degree oven for twenty minutes, then lower the heat to 325 and bake for an additional hour and ten minutes.
Remove the roasting pan (and the chicken) from the oven and fill the pan with water until only the top of the breast of the chicken (and maybe the tips of the drumsticks) are sticking out. Bring the pot to a boil and then let it simmer for maybe an hour and half, until the meat comes off the chicken really easily.
Now, the gross part: pick all of the meat off of that chicken (no skin, of course) and put it in a bowl to use later. Get rid of all of the bones, skin, curious chicken bits and onion pieces. Voi la! You’ve got stock.
Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a sizable pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.
Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms, lime juice, and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through; season with salt and pepper. Serve over a good scoop of white rice and garnish liberally with cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger, or lime leaves.
-This recipe was inspired by one I found by a guy named Tyler Florence.