I've been fighting a cold for the past couple days. And, I was feeling pretty awful yesterday. So, I decided that I really wanted soup for dinner. I browsed thru some recipes on the web for the best soups for colds, and didn't really find anything that appealed to me. Next, I looked thru a couple of my favorite cookbooks. I really like my Cook's Illustrated cookbook. It's pretty similar to my favorite New Best Recipes, but this cookbook has a lot more recipes.
I had heard that Pho is really good for colds, so I decided to make this chicken noodle soup from Cook's Illustrated. Wow! It was really good and really spicy since I decided to add Sriracha and red chili peppers from my garden. It really helped to open my sinuses. Plus, it was very flavorful. I also decided to add a cinnamon stick to the broth since I saw that was added to another Pho-style soup. If you have a cold you are trying to kick; I highly recommend you try this soup. And, even if you just want a warming soup on a cold, winter day this will do the trick. Enjoy!
8 oz wide rice noodles
Broth and Chicken
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 oz boneless, skinless check thighs (about 3 thighs), trimmed (I used 2 chicken breasts)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/8 inch rounds, and smashed
2 star anise pods
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
4 cups shredded napa cabbage
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias
1/2 cup fresh mint, large leaves torn in half
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tsp diced jalapeno peppers
For the noodles, I followed the directions on the box to make pasta out of them. Basically, you bring salted water to a boil, add the noodles, stir, and let cook for 4 to 6 minutes until al dente. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside. Or, you can go ahead and distribute the noodles into bowls.
For the broth and chicken, take a large pot and add all ingredients except salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and then simmer, partially covered, so that the flavors can meld about 10 to 15 minutes. Or, until chicken is cooked thru. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and when cool enough to handle slice thin. Continue letting the broth to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Then, strain the broth thru a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Then, return the broth to the pot and discard the ingredients in the strainer. Season with salt to taste. Cover broth and keep hot over low heat until ready to serve.
For the vegetables, divide cabbage and chicken among bowls with noodles, and ladle in the broth. Sprinkle each serving with scallions, mint, cilantro, peanuts, sriracha, peppers, and lime wedges.