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!


Pam said...

Oh Paula. I'll take a bowl please. It looks so good. I am a total soup girl...I took a thermos to school too. Mmmm good.

Pam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

i love the look of this soup, looks hefty with the chunky ingredients, but the liquid sounds lightly flavoured

Cheryl said...

Paula that looks delicious! I am a soup girl too, and had a Wonder Woman thermos!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Soup me up a bowl of that, would you Paula?? Great flavors going on there! Mmmmm! Do you remember I told you I lived in Oregon for 2 years, many years ago? We still vacation there, although we haven't been there in 3 yrs, but the first thing we want when we get to the coast is a big bowl of Mo's clam chowder! I dream about it! Do you make that too??? Would ya? Pretty please :)

Erik said...

It is no accident that nearly every culture in the world has at least one kind of soup to its credit. I think it is simply because soup is the best way to make the best out of the ingredients that are left over once the "good" stuff is picked over.
I also eat soup nearly every day, and the endless varieties available meant hat I never have to eat the same thing twice if I don't want to.
But sometimes I do anyway :)

Lo said...

Oh, I love soup... though I avoid soups with shrimp. Always thinking they'll get overcooked.

This looks fabulous, though. Love the flavor combo... and its beautiful to boot! How is this as leftovers?

Bridgett said...

This looks perfect Paula, especially for those chilly days ahead. I am a soup fan as well and my daughter seems to be right on the same trail. She can put it away like nobody business and stay skinny. How do they do it?
Delicious looking soup!

Marjie said...

This is so pretty! I'm not sure, however, that I could bring myself to put shrimp in my soup. I love to just eat shrimp. Greg always brings a platter of shrimp & cocktail sauce for Thanksgiving, and I have to stop myself from pigging down all of them!

It's nice that your kids will eat so many flavors, too!

Deborah said...

I am a soup lover, and this one really looks like a winner!

Anonymous said...

Paula, those are beautiful pictures! And yes, I totally dig soup, especially when served with bread. It's one of my comfort foods.

Esi said...

I am a huge fan of Asian inspired soups like this. I can pretty much only consume soup when it's cold, but I have had something like this in mind for a while. Looks fantastic!

Lisa said...

I love soup and yours looks wonderful, bright and fresh. The Asian flavors are inspiring, perfect for the early fall weather we've been having.

Peter M said...

I lurv soup and this looks like those yummy oriental soups I order out for.

Try the addition of star anise'll "lurv" it!

The Blonde Duck said...

I didn't use to like soup, but I love it now! Because when there's soup--there's BISCUITS!

OhioMom said...

Oh yummy! I am so glad that soup season is here :)

noble pig said...

This looks so healthy. In the PNW you can enjoy a lot of it! It's still 90 at my house. Boo. No soup for me.

Jan said...

That looks sooooooo good, Paula. What a wonderful array of flavors you've got going on here. Pretty dish too.

Kevin said...

That soup looks nice and fresh and good.

Aggie said...

I'd love a bowl of this for lunch!! It looks so fresh and full of good stuff! I've been in the soup mood lately, I'll have to see if I can put this one together, I've never made an Asian type soup before. I can just smell it!

Bellini Valli said...

A bowl of soup is a meal in a bowl and you can make enough for an entire week for lunch at work in jist one sitting:D

Darius T. Williams said...

Now this is one good looking soup!


Katherine Aucoin said...

Paul your soup looks fantastic. I am particularly fond of Asian cuisine. My husband and I could do some damage with this soup.

Grace said...

i'm pretty sure soup is synonymous with comfort. this is a good one. :)


i've come back to read this post and look at the photos, i really love the appearance of this soup, it looks so pretty in that asian bowl

Kay said...

I absolutely love the name of your blog ... but this soup looks great!

Greetings from Gouda :)