Thursday, February 10, 2011

Standing Over the Stove with a Spoon...

...eating straight out of the pot.
(see those beautiful little droplets of toasted sesame oil swimming around with the red pepper flakes? They look happy, don't they?)
That’s how good this soup is. For about the last two months, I have had a very insistent craving for Chinese food. Or Thai. Or Vietnamese. Pretty much anything spicy with noodles. So, when I was browsing around at the Market on the Square (fabulous new shop in Carlinville that stocks only Illinois-made products) and I ran across some adorable little egg noodles called Soup Buds (by a company called Pasta Alley), I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.


After all, that’s what they are for... and it has been an excruciatingly long, vicious winter around here. In that kind of situation, you can never have too much soup. These little gems look like egg noodles that someone took a hole punch to. Less than a half inch in diameter when fully cooked, they fill up with the broth from the soup, but stay slightly firm, giving you a wonderful mouthful of noodly goodness, without the treachery of the random noodle that inevitably flings itself over the edge of the spoon, scattering its juices on your chin (or shirt) in a last-ditch effort to escape.

Now, set on my path to a steaming pot of soup, I started searching for recipes. I go through this several times every winter. Looking for something new, something flavorful and earth shattering.... and without fail I seem to end up with....chicken soup. No matter how good the recipe claims to be, regardless of how enticing the ingredient list appears, it always just ends up as being some generic chicken soup.

I wanted more.

So when I ran across this recipe, suffice it to say I remained skeptical. Nevertheless, I trudged ahead, making a few minor tweaks here and there. And what did I end up with?

Sheer bliss.

The hubs came in from feeding the dogs and found me hunkered down over the stove with a spoon in hand, eating straight out of the pot. It started innocently enough, with a taste to check the seasoning....but you know, first tastes can be deceiving, so you should always check twice. But in the second bite I really didn’t get any chicken, so I tried again. And then I wanted to make sure it was seasoned consistently throughout.... and I might as well double check those noodles to make sure they were thoroughly cooked.... Well, it was shameful, really. I ate enough of it standing there at the stove that I didn’t need to actually fix myself a bowl. I was full. And gloriously so.

Sadly, I was so enthralled with my brothy discovery that I completely missed the recommended garnishes. Imagine how much more pleased I was when I dragged the pot back out again this morning (yes, at 5:00 am) and fixed myself a bowl, complete with savory garnish, and had another serving for breakfast. Yes, you heard me right. And then ladled up another generous serving to take to work with me for lunch. I see no reason to ever make another kind of chicken soup again. Ever.

Here is the recipe (originally from America’s Test Kitchen), with my changes. I strongly urge you to make this at home. And eat it standing over the strove with a spoon. And maybe for breakfast...

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

8-10 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce (this had a lovely amount of heat without being too spicy, but I LOVE spicy, so if you don’t, then cut back on this ingredient)
2 cups chicken (I picked the all meat off a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup Soup Buds or other egg noodle (or 2 packages of dried ramen noodles, seasoning packed discarded)
3 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)

Bring broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and chili garlic sauce to a boil in a large saucepan.
Add the egg noodles (if using) and cook until almost done.
Add the cut up chicken to the pot and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until chicken is warmed through.
If using Ramen noodles, add the dried noodles into the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until they're just about cooked.
Stir in the scallions and cilantro and serve in bowls.
Garnish each bowl additional fresh cilantro leaves and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes, if you like.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, the brainchild of Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. Be sure to check out this week's roundup tomorrow hosted by Helen at Fuss Free Flavors!


Bev said...

This sounds yummy, my hubs would love it! But I'm even more interested in that new shop and will certainly check it out the next time I'm in town to visit my family.

Ty'sMommy said...

Bev, you can find them on Facebook and check them out! The have wines from four local wineries and now carry organic beef and pork as well. Be sure to tell them I sent you if you stop in!

Ruth Daniels said...

I am envisioning standing over the pot... bookmarked for later this week or early next. I can't wait to try it out.

Thanks fo much for sharing with Presto Pasta #200 and I hope to see you back for the big 4th birthday party, March 4th - if not sooner ;-)

Ty'sMommy said...

Thanks Ruth - and I will be back!

Hey everyone! - I'm hosting Presto Pasta Nights in a few weeks! Keep an eye out for it and get your pasta dishes ready to go!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Soup is the perfect meal for cold winter evenings, and this one sounds delicious! I love that you can use rotisserie chicken in it- it makes it so quick and easy! I'm going to look for those noodles.