Let’s talk soup shall we? I am of the camp that soup is perfectly acceptable in any season but I also know that soup is one of those foods people think about as Mother Nature starts to chill things off and the leaves begin to fall.
This particular recipe comes from a Cook’s Illustrated collection I picked up a couple of years ago; I don’t make much in the way of Thai because I’m not familiar with the cuisine and getting even simple ingredients such as lemongrass can be challenging in my area. However, my local grocer carries some of the Gourmet Garden line and lo and behold, lemongrass was on the shelves – score one for moi.
Now I know what you’re thinking . . . ‘But Debra, it’s in a t-u-b-e! It’s not fresh! It’s not really herbs! It’s not organic!’ Au contrair because that is exactly what I thought every time I’d walk by the display at my grocery store. But then I had the opportunity to see Gourmet Garden in action at Big Summer Potluck; and no, this isn’t a sponsored post – this is about me getting my comeuppance. Because what I learned is this: the herbs are real herbs, they’re organic, they’re packaged fresh from the ground in Austrailia and not reconstituted. When I can’t get fresh lemongrass and want to make this soup, I’m going to grab a tube and go with it . . . then I discover I’m out of fresh cilantro and there’s nary a leaf in my herb garden and I’m really craving this soup – so I’m going with the tube again. Obviously, if you have fresh, by all means use it – but I’ll have a few of these tucked away in my freezer where they’ll last up to 3 months.
The only other change I made to the original recipe is using rotisserie chicken breast – it’s already cooked and you add it at the end to warm through; and really, any leftover chicken will do.
THAI-STYLE CHICKEN SOUP
Slightly adapted from Soups & Stews, Cook’s Illustrated
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
- 3 Tablespoons Gourmet Garden Lemongrass
- 3 large shallots, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Gourmet Garden cilantro
- 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, 2 Tablespoons reserved
- 4 cups homemade chicken stock
- 2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, well shaken
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and cut into ¼-inch slices
- the entire breast of one rotisserie chicken, sliced on the bias into 1/8-inch thick pieces
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (more if you prefer it spicier)
FOR THE GARNISH:
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles, sliced thin
- 2 green onions, sliced thin on the diagonal
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering
- Add lemongrass, shallots, cilantro and 1 Tablespoon of the fish sauce; cook stirring frequently, just until softened, about 3-4 minutes
- Stir in chicken broth and 1 can of coconut milk; bring to boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes
- Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids; rinse saucepan and return strained broth mixture to pan
- Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir remaining can of coconut milk and sugar into broth and bring to simmer
- Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes; add chicken and cook for another 5 minutes; remove from heat
- Combine lime juice, curry paste and remaining 2 Tablespoons fish sauce in a small bowl; stir into soup
- Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro, chiles and green onions; serve immediately with lime wedges