Sunday, January 23, 2011

Valentines and Vietnam

You rarely see those two words juxtaposed! Remember the Christmas wreathes I made before the holidays? This morning I made a Valentine wreath/heart/thingie.

And I made scrumptious Vietnamese chicken and shrimp soup.

Sorry about more bread pics.

But for those of you who have taken on the sourdough challenge, here is my latest. You can see that they look good and they are wonderful but still not sour enough. I think we all need to keep feeding our starters but let them age for a few weeks.

Anyway, back to the soup. I had leftover chicken stock from the chicken noodle soup I just made so I used it as a base for this soup. You can use 12 cups of store bought stock in place of homemade. In a piece of cheese cloth wrap 10 black peppercorn, 4 star anise and 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds. Add this to the broth. Add 3 tsp. of thai red curry paste, 4 T. minced ginger, 1/4 c. asian fish sauce, 1 med. onion diced very thin, 4 cloves of minced garlic and 5 tsp. brown sugar.

Bring this to a simmer and cook while you prepare some chicken.

Thinly slice boned skinned chicken breasts and season them with some granulated garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook the in a bit of olive oil just until cooked through. Remove from the pan and shred into thin strips.

Open 2 cans of unsweetened coconut milk.

Add it t the stock and stir until it is combined.

Add the chicken.

I refrigerate most of my soups overnight so I can skim the fat off in the morning.

You can see that the fat lifts right off the top.

Bring the soup back to a simmer. Boil some noodles separately until very al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the soup so do not over cook them. I like to use angel hair for this soup. Drain them and rinse with cold water and set them aside.

At this point I add some shelled and deveined raw shrimp. Simmer the soup until the shrimp turn pink.

Take some deep soup bowls and put fresh bean sprouts on the bottom of each. Ladle the hot soup over the sprouts. Add some fresh chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Squeeze as much lime into the soup as you like.

The heat can be adjusted by adding additional Thai curry paste. If you follow this recipe you do not end up with a spicy soup.

This soup is sensational. Up the spice if you have a cold!