Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chinese Chicken and Chili Soup

I’m systematically going through my cookbooks and looking for recipes to try. Tonight it was Chinese Chicken and Chili Soup, from One-pot, Slow-pot & Clay-pot Cooking, by Jenni Fleetwood (New York: Hermes House, 2002). I had to substitute a serrano chili for the red chili, regular mushrooms for the shiitake, and Japanese vermicelli for the rice noodles. Also, the recipe calls for a Chinese sand pot, which I do not own, so I used an oven-safe glass Dutch oven.

So, I used the wrong chili pepper, the wrong mushrooms, the wrong noodles and the wrong pot. Oh, and I didn't warm the bowls. It still turned out fine, though, and I think we’ll try it again. One caveat: even finely chopped the lemon grass was distracting and occasionally off-putting; we kept hitting hard chunks that were reminiscent of biting sand. Next time we’ll leave the lemon grass in bigger pieces so we can remove them once the soup is done.

1 5oz boneless chicken breast portion, cut into thin strips
1 inch piece fresh ginger root, finely chopped
2 inch piece lemon grass stalk, finely chopped
1 red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
8 baby corn cobs, halved lengthwise
1 large carrot, cut into thin sticks
4 cups hot chicken stock
4 green onions, thinly sliced
12 small shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 oz (1 cup) vermicelli rice noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and ground black pepper

Place the chicken, ginger, lemon grass, chili, corn and carrot sticks in a Chinese sand pot. Pour over the hot chicken stock and cover.

Place the pot in an unheated oven (I forgot and preheated the oven; no big deal with the pan I was using). Set the temperature to 400 degrees and cook the soup for 30-40 minutes, or until the stock is simmering and the chicken and vegetables are tender.

Add the green onions and mushrooms, cover, and return the pot to the oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water – soak for the required time, following the packet instructions (my noodles had different directions).

Drain the noodles and divide among four warmed serving bowls (I didn’t warm the bowls). Stir the soy sauce into the soup and season with salt and pepper. Divide the soup between the bowls and serve immediately.

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