Chicken Soup for the Heart

Soup. It’s the quintessential comfort food. When you’re sick, when you’re down, when it’s gloomy outside and you need a little pick me up, soup is an almost perfect solution. It can be a hearty meal or a light first course. It can taste like summer, bringing you back to carefree days or like mom used to make, cradling you in the comforts of home. It can warm your heart, soothe your soul, and maybe even cure your cold (there is some scientific evidence to suggest that something in chicken noodle soup can help you get over your cold faster, but whether it’s mind over matter, science, or even magic, it’s a remedy that I’ll always turn to).

This month, Joanna is hosting Heart of the Matter (HotM 11) and has asked us to share all of our glorious soup recipes. I can’t wait to see what everyone has to offer in this category! In the wintertime, as it is here, I’m happy to make soup even as often as once a week, so in my opinion, the more soup recipes to choose from, the better! I chose this soup because I’ve had a hankering for Asian foods lately, and it sounded delicious: Lemongrass- and Ginger- Scented Chicken Soup. While I’m a big fan of the hearty homemade chicken noodle soup that my mom has made for many years now, after all the heavy foods during the holiday season, this lighter, Asian-style version was a perfect interlude: it’s healthy, full of flavor, and at least in my mind, cancels out all those coconut lemon bars I chowed down on this weekend (recipe forthcoming).

Thanks for hosting, Joanna! See you all next month for HotM 12!

Lemongrass and Ginger-Scented Chicken Soup, serves 5
recipe adapted from Body and Soul Magazine

2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
4 lemongrass stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces and bruised (I used a hammer!)
2 chicken breasts
1 carrot, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
10 medium-sized shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 oz. of soba noodles
1 ½ cups of bok choy, sliced
3 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro (or basil, or both!)

Add chicken stock and water to a large saucepan. Tie the lemongrass into a bundle inside some cheesecloth (or I put it in a steamer basket because I was out of cheesecloth!), and add to the water. Add the chicken breasts, carrot, onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat until it is barely simmering, cover the pot and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle (Don’t over-poach it though! Nobody wants tough chicken!).

Remove the chicken and the lemongrass bundle from the pot, then put the chicken on a plate and shred it into pieces using two forks. Return the pot to a boil, then add the soy sauce, mushrooms and soba noodles and cook until the soba noodles are tender (about 3-4 minutes). Add the bok choy, scallions and chicken to the pot and cook until chicken is heated through. You can cook the bok choy and scallions longer, but I like them just slightly cooked so that they retain their bright green color. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cilantro (you could use basil instead, if you’d like – or both) just before serving. Enjoy!

9 comments from you:

Julie said...

Your soup sounds so good. I prefer this sort of chicken soup to a chicken-noodle type of soup, and I agree that it seems lighter and healthier. It would also be, with the addition of something spicy and hot pepper-y, the perfect thing to eat if you have a cold. Although my plan is to have NO colds this winter.

BTW, your dog is the embodiment of contentment and relaxation in the picture on your last post. And what a handsome guy, too!

Joanna said...

Mmm delicious - lovely clean tastes. I'm with Julie - no colds this winter ;)

Thanks for sharing


michelle said...

Julie, yep - no colds this winter! Mmm...and a spicy something would be a great addition to this soup! Thanks for the doggie compliments - he's a good reminder that life doesn't have to be complicated all the time.

Joanna, thanks for stopping by, and for hosting! I agree! No colds for any of us!

Ann said...

Looks wonderful and I love the flavors.

michelle said...

Thanks, Ann!

Dianne said...

Oh wow! This is a fabulous take on the traditional chicken soup which we all know and love!


Michelle said...

Dianne - I think so too! Sometimes it's refreshing to try something new, but that still has the same kind of comforting qualities!

LisaRene said...

You have motivated me to start experimenting with different style noodles as I have never cooked with soba noodles.

We are almost neighbors, I'm in the process of remodeling a home in Ashland. Oregon is such a special state, I just love it!

Michelle said...

Hi Lisarene, Thanks for stopping by my blog! Finding another Oregonian is always a delight - especially one that blogs about food! Soba noodles are wonderful, and healthy - they're great in soups and as noodle salads and all kinds of things!