Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Soup Me Up!
What are your thoughts about soup? Do you like soup? I loooovvvve soup, and eat a bowl of the steamy goodness just about every day for lunch. It's been that way ever since I was little. I was the kid who brought a thermos of soup for lunch at school. I still remember the hollow scratching of the lid unscrewing off the thermos, and then instantaneously being greeted with that yummy aroma of whatever type of soup my mom made for me.
Now a days, I'm the one that makes the soup. Once a week, I haul out my heavy duty stock pot, and whip up something out of whatever I've got available that will satisfy my soup fix. My littlest souper girl shares my love of the spoon and bowl. For such a little thing, she sure can put away a bowl of soup in record time. I've had to adjust some of my recipes to accommodate her wheat allergy. Luckily, she's not picky and enjoys the variety of many types of cuisine. How lucky she and my other kidlin's are to have experienced such a diverse gastronomical education their entire lives!
When I moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest years ago, my exposure to different cultures and cuisines skyrocketed. Suddenly, I could choose from an array of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Indian, etc. The list just goes on and on, and I love them all. I especially enjoy the bright, fresh flavors of Asian food, and that's what I was craving when it was time to make this week's soup.
Preparing this soup was a snap. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients and some prep time is involved, but when you figure that this recipe can soup you up for multiple servings, it's time well spent. Plus I used up the last of my garden carrots, so it was thrifty, too. Let's begin, shall we?
Asian Noodle Soup with Chicken, Shrimp, and Fresh Vegetables
2 T Canola Oil
1 large onion diced
3 cups sliced carrots
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced with a couple grinds of sea salt
1 head napa cabbage, shredded in long thin shreds
1 lb ground chicken
2-1/2 quarts chicken stock (you need a lot because of the rice noodles)
4 oz white wine
1 T soy sauce (I used wheat free tamari)
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 t lemongrass paste (sold in a tube in the refrigerated section; it's thick like tom paste)
1 t ground ginger (I didn't have fresh on hand)
Shake of season salt
1 Pkg rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to directions and cut into shorter strands
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/4 lb. raw shrimp
About 5 shakes of sesame oil - a little goes a long way
About 2 shakes of chili oil (if desired) - a little goes a long way
Garnish with whatever you like: chopped cilantro, jalapenos, bean spouts, green onions and/or chili paste if desired
In a large stock pot, heat oil on med high heat. Stirring often, saute the onions and carrots for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about 1-2 more minutes. Add the cabbage and stir it in well. The cabbage will reduce very quickly. Once the cabbage has reduced, add the ground chicken, and stir it vigorously to blend with the veggies in the pot. This will help the chicken break down into small bits as opposed to large chunks. Continue to stir until the meat has changed color. Add the broth all at once and bring to a full boil. Add the wine, cover, and turn the heat down to a strong simmer/low boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the cover, add the shredded chicken and raw shrimp. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the shrimp have cooked through. Add the cooked rice noodles, and stir to combine. Cook until heated through. Stir in the sesame oil and chili oil if desired. Spoon into bowls and garnish to your tummy's desire.
Doesn't this look YUMMY? It was sooo good. There are so many flavors going on in this soup. The lemon grass paste was simply terrific; it really brightened up the flavor. The rice noodles were the perfect accompaniment to the other ingredients. Plus, using those rice noodles means that this soup is gluten free, all the way baby! Soup me up!