French Fridays with Dorie: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Remember last week's FFwD challenge, the mustard tart, that was such a stretch for my family? Well this week's challenge, as you can imagine, was just plain over the top. We grimaced and groaned in (lack of) anticipation and decided to just get it over with toward the beginning of the week. So, on Sunday, we gave it a shot.
Background info: we've all been suffering a nasty early autumn cold that Chirp Chirp caught from a friend who caught it at the state fair somewhere between the bunny barn and the elephant ear stand. So it was Mr. Boom who bravely went to the store with the terrifying challenge of finding fish sauce and whole coriander, along with a chicken, a lime, and a can coconut milk.
He prevailed in all respects except the whole coriander. He did find ground coriander, so I used that instead. In fact, I modified the heck out of this recipe, to the point where I think it would be okay to post my recipe as it doesn't really follow the recipe in the book at all, except for in spirit. But you know what? This was the best soup any of us ever had. Seriously. Go to the store and by these wacky ingredients. You won't be sad at all.
First, throw a small to medium chicken in a pot and cover with water. Add a few carrots and whatever leftover leek greens you have on hand. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then let that simmer for an hour or two until the meat is cooked and starting to fall off the bone.
Lift out the meat and vegetables, then pour the liquid through a strainer to remove the final solid bits from the broth. I had a little more than 8 cups of broth to work with. To the broth, add one can of coconut milk, two points from one star anise, about a tablespoon or two of minced fresh ginger, a few pinches of brown sugar, two tablespoons of fish sauce, two dashes of ground coriander, and a couple dashes of paprika.
Return the mixture to a boil and start soaking some rice noodles. remove the breast meat from the chicken and tear it into little pieces, then add that back into the pot. Add the noodles when they're soft, and taste the soup to see if it needs any flavor adjustments.
Sigh and realize you've gone to heaven.
I had a lime in mine, but Mr. Boom ate his plain. Chirp Chirp thought the noodles were too much like worms, and being a vegetarian she eschewed the chicken. The broth passed her muster, however, so we'll say she liked it too. That's about as mus=ch as she ever likes anything that isn't chocolate!
We ate this soup two night in a row, and were actually sad when the leftovers were gone. This was perfect soup for a cold, and even gave Mr. Boom the energy to start a batch of wine from the grapes hanging off the trellis and blocking the back door.
Bonus! The rest of the chicken, including the leeks and carrots, were made into chicken divan and served for two more nights. One chicken, four meals.... and some left over lime wedges for fun!
Here's a terrible picture of the soup. I was hungry and miserable and the soup smelled so good, I just couldn't stand the wait and dug in before I could get a photo that looked very nice.
To see some really gorgeous photos, and get a better idea of how the recipe should have been made, visit here.