“It’s going around…”
And you know what that means: Time for chicken soup!
When you’ve got nothing but time on your hands, I love starting from the ground up and making a homemade chicken stock for a soup like this. That’s even how I made this one the first time. But if you’re feeling under the weather, chances are you don’t have the time. I like to make chicken stock on a lazy Sunday and keep it frozen in quart containers for situations like this.
I’m starting to play with Thai ingredients more now, as my chef friend and business partner uses them a lot and has been teaching me the ways. He likes to make a lot of broths in this style, where you start with a lot of aromatics and finish with coconut milk. One of my biggest takeaways was that when professional chefs prepare soup in restaurants, they use A LOT more aromatics than a home cook would – more than any recipe I’ve seen. It’s about getting a really bright and concentrated flavor. The aromatics are strained in this recipe, which I like because you can do fun things like leave garlic unpeeled. You do still want to slice most of the aromatics because this allows their flavors to release better when cooking.
Mom’s old-fashioned chicken soup may be good, but the ginger and heat from the jalapeño and sriracha may make this an even better choice for knocking out that cold. Enjoy!
- 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
- 4 shallots, sliced
- 1 head garlic, cut in half across the middle
- 4 inches ginger, sliced
- 1 bunch scallion, sliced (whites and greens separated)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- Kosher salt
- 2 quarts hot chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 jalapeño peppers, halved (and partially seeded if you don’t like it hot)
- 1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced
- ¼ pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch bok choy, stems diced and leaves thinly slices
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- Cilantro and lime wedges, for serving
- Start with a cool large pot or saucepan. Add lemongrass, shallots, garlic, ginger, the whites of the scallion, and coconut oil. Season generously with salt and turn the heat to medium-low. Sweat 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You don’t want to scorch the aromatics because this causes them to be bitter, which is why it helps to start cool, season generously, and stir. You don’t want any color on them at all.)
- Add hot chicken stock (heat in another pan if necessary – you never want to add cold liquid when making a sauce or a broth, as it won’t accept the flavors as readily) and jalapeño, simmer another 15 minutes. Strain the aromatics and jalapeño from the stock and discard.
- With the stock back in the pot, bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and add chicken, mushrooms, bok choy stems; cook 2 minutes. Add bok choy leaves and scallion greens; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, and sriracha (add more fish sauce and/or sriracha to taste – the fish sauce should provide enough salt but if not, feel free to add). Serve with cilantro and lime wedges.