Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coconut Soup with Chicken

Tonight, I ventured into unchartered territory. I cooked with lemongrass and thai fish sauce. Lemongrass proved very difficult to find. Kroger, Trader Joes, and Martin's didn't have fresh lemongrass. However, I found success at Whole Foods. I had to look up how to cut lemongrass. I found this site, which proved very informative. I've heard a lot about lemongrass lately thanks to a friend who cooks a lot with it. And, since we may use it as an eventual Iron Chef secret ingredient I thought I'd give it a shot. Lemongrass is very fragrant, and from the website it says you don't want to eat the lemongrass stalk. Thai fish sauce is also very fragrant, but not in a good way. It has that yucky fish smell. But, it proved very flavorful when mixed in with the soup. I found this recipe in cooking light's cookbook, and it definitely packed plenty of flavor. This soup was also very easy to make. You don't have to do much chopping other than slicing the ginger and lemongrass. I thought for sure I'd have to use salt, but I think the thai fish sauce helped with the seasoning. I highly recommend this soup. Enjoy!

4 c water
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1/2 c sliced, peeled fresh lemongrass, slightly crushed
15 pieces thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger, slightly crushed
4 serrano chiles, slightly crushed
5 kaffir lime leaves, slightly torn, or 1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind
1 3/4 lb chicken breast quarters, skinned
3/4 lb chicken thigh quarters, skinned
1/4 c Thai fish sauce
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
6 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

I completely messed up the very beginning of this recipe. I was boiling chicken and tossed my 3 chicken breasts in with the boiling chicken. But, what you are supposed to do is pour your water and coconut milk (I used light coconut milk) into a dutch oven over medium heat. Then, you stir in your lemongrass, ginger, chiles, and lime leaves. Bring to a boil. Now, I didn't see kaffir limes anywhere, so I just used a lime and grated the rind. Also, I couldn't find serrano chiles so I used 2 large jalapeno peppers. I just used a meat tenderizer and pounded the peppers, lemongrass, and ginger once. Now, you are supposed to add your chicken, reduce the heat, and simmer for 50 minutes covered or until chicken is done. Now, remove the chicken from the pot. Let chicken cool for 15 minutes or so and shred. Take your pot, and strain the broth thru a colander into a large bowl. Discard the solids, and return the broth to your pot. The recipe says to remove the chicken from the bones, but I just used boneless chicken breasts which makes life so much easier. Return chicken to the pot, and add the fish sauce. Cook for a minute. Add the lime juice and heat thru. Add the cilantro.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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