WORT – It’s fall, and with the beautiful changing colors also comes the cold and sniffles. This week Sara’s table brings us a much needed chicken noodle soup for those days we just need to relax and fight off that itch in our throat.
Vietnamese Inspired Chicken Soup
I have been feeling a little bit under the weather lately. I’m not sure what it is about fall, but it always seems to bring a sniffle to my nose and a tightness in my chest. I’ve come to expect it with the turning of August into September and October, the returning of students, the crispness of the air and the changing of the leaves.
And with all of these changes and fragile feelings all that feels good to consume is a comforting and loving soup. Warming soups in the fall are like the wool socks you put away for the summer and are now rediscovering as the cold floors of your house fell too brusk for bare skin.
They just really hit the spot. While I have a fantastic recipe for a Midwestern version of chicken noodle soup that is a constant go-to in my house, lately I’ve been playing around with other versions. The one that I’ve settled on as my as-of-late staple is a Vietnamese version of the chicken noodle soup. This one replaces herbs like thyme and bay leaf that are key to my Midwestern version for ginger, garlic and lemongrass—bringing a floral brightness to the dish.
I also love the garnishing options of this recipe. Rather than dousing all of the ingredients in the soup to boil for infinity, killing nuance and subtlety, this soup lets the subtlety sing by leaving the fragrant delicate flavors of the herbs and citrus for the end, as garnish to be added after everything is cooked. This allows the herbs to maintain their brightness and robustness, and it makes for a visually stimulating bowl of comfort food as you gulp it down.
Best of all, this soup is ridiculously easy and fast to make. With just 30 minutes from prep to finish you can be slurping these noodles and going in for seconds of broth. I promise that you’ll make this soup and then want to make it again shortly thereafter! Like those warm woolen socks, after tasting this for the first time, you’ll feel misty eyed every now and again for more of this most glorious and healing of chicken noodle soups. Here is what you’ll need and how to make it.
- 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 6 whole scallions, diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, crushed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 serrano chile
- 1 lemon grass, outside leaves removed and soft inner part diced
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- Fish sauce, for seasoning
- 1 (16-ounce) package dried rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
- Thai basil sprigs
- Limes, cut into wedges
- Jalapeño chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced into rings
In a sauté pan cook the chicken with scallions and salt until cooked all the way through. Set aside. While doing that you can begin the broth. You’ll put the chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, Serrano chile, and lemon grass to the broth. Taste for seasoning and add a tablespoon or so of fish sauce to taste in order to deepen the flavor.
In another saucepan cook the glass rice noodles as instructed on the package.
Ready the garnishes so that when the broth is ready you can divide the rice noodles evenly among warmed soup bowls. Top each serving with about 3/4 cup of the chicken, ladle the hot stock over the top, dividing it evenly, allowing your guests to add the garnishes that they like best. If you are like me, that includes everything!