Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Chicken noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup (two portions)
Some chicken bones - buy legs and bone them if you don't fancy boning a whole chicken (a whole bird is a faff...legs, you just hack the bones out of the middle of the meat - neatness isn't required!). You can buy bags of wingtips for stock in butchers sometimes, you just need to ask. Or you could roast a chicken or a couple of legs one day and eat most of the meat, and then use the bones and the remains of the meat for this.
A piece of ginger the volume of your two thumbs, roughly chopped
2 star anise
Handful of peppercorns
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp red chilli flakes (I ALWAYS add more than that, but I like it hot...)
Juice 2 limes - keep the juice to finish the soup, and the shell of one goes in the stock
Other things that sound good - I add a dried lime and dried mushrooms because I have them around

Things to go in it
Enough of your favourite sort of chinese noodles for 2
around 350-400g of mushrooms (whatever two portions looks like to you), quartered or chopped into bitesize but not small pieces
Two heads of pak choi, or maybe one head of chinese leaf, or two big handfuls of spinach leaves - something green and leaf, chopped in such a way as to make portions.
6 spring onions (scallions) sliced finely
Tsp honey
50ml soy sauce
sprinkling of sesame oil and sweet shilli sauce to serve
cooked chicken meat if you want it (i usually don't, because I'm being frugal!) - you can poach it in the stock.

OR, new thought, buy commercial chicken stock! Buy the fresh stuff, and organic if you can. Cubes...not when you're ill. About 750ml? I've not tried this way so you may need more

Commercial stock version: throw your chicken stock in a pan and add the same quantity of water. Throw in the stock ingredients EXCEPT the bones and simmer gently for 2 hours. It'll smell ace. Strain the liquid. You're probably aiming for about 750ml of liquid left, so if there's more boil hard to reduce it.

Bones version: Throw the chicken bones and the rest of the stock ingredients into a big pan. Cover with water - around 2 litres. Bring to the boil and simmer for as long as you have time for in an evening - ideally as much as 6 hours. I never have time for that. 3.5-4 is fine. Leave to cool with the bits in and then strain just before you make the soup. There will be clear fat on the top and it looks horrid, I promise it tastes good! When you're going to start the soup, boil to reduce to around 750ml.

When you're ready to eat your food, heat up the stock. Heat some oil in a wok and throw in the mushrooms and half the scallions. Stir fry until nearly cooked and throw in the greens. Taste the stock and add the soy, lime and sesame to taste. Add some soy, lime and sesame to the mushrooms with the honey. When the veg is done, put your noodles into the stock to cook.

When THEY are cooked, heap the veg and noodles into bowls and pour the stock over the top. Add sweet chilli as you eat.

I'm sure it's not authentic, but it tastes good. And you'll get very messy eating it.

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