I don’t get sick very often, which I chalk up mostly to luck (or I guess good genes). It probably also helps that I try to eat bunches of fruits and vegetables, drink a lot of water, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly.
Of course, over the holidays, I tend to grab a cookie instead of a piece of fruit for a snack, and I sleep less, and I drink wine instead of water, and I spend a lot of time indoors, and…blah, this year, I got the Cold From Hell right after Christmas. I spent the better part of three days sitting on the couch with a book, a mug of tea, and a blanket (which sounds nice, yet wasn’t). I did, however, find enough energy to make chicken soup.
I wasn’t in the mood for a traditional version, which just seemed too hearty for how I was feeling. I wanted a gently flavored broth with ginger and leeks instead of more assertive aromatics like onions and carrots. Mushrooms were a light addition and Japanese soba noodles made the soup into a balanced meal.
It definitely hit the spot, which was good because we didn’t eat much besides this and tomato soup for a few days. It seems to have worked, because this morning – finally! – I’m breathing through my nose. I forgot how wonderful that feels.
Two years ago: Pad Thai
One year ago: Pasta with Broccoli, Sausage, and Roasted Red Peppers
Printer Friendly Recipe
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
6 main dish servings (probably 12 first-course servings)
My small-town grocery store didn’t have shiitakes, which was very sad, so I used oyster mushrooms. You can use really any type of mushroom, including white button.
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, 12 to 16 ounces each
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
8 ounces soba noodles, broken in half
12 ounces shiitakes, stemmed discarded, caps sliced thin
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 scallions, chopped
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat; swirl to coat the pot evenly with oil. Brown the chicken breasts skin side down until deep golden, 3 to 4 minutes; turn the chicken breasts and brown until they’re golden on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Place the pot with the chicken in the oven; roast until the thickest part of a breast registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle, then shred it, discarding the bones and skin.
2. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the Dutch oven. Without rinsing the pot, sauté the leeks, ginger and garlic over medium heat until the leeks are softened, 3-4 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the water and broth; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms, chicken, and soba to the broth mixture and simmer for about 6 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce, chile oil, sesame oil, cilantro and scallions. Serve.