Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup

For the past few years, August has been soup month here at An Eat'n Man.  Why?  Who knows?  Perhaps it's because come August, we're so hot here in Texas that a big honkin' Five-Dollar-Fill-Up of a meal just puts us off, and something light is in order.  Or perhaps it's that Augustus Caesar, founder of Rome and namesake for the month of August, was a big lover of soup.  (actually, I can't back that up with paperwork)  Maybe it just happened.  I got nothin.'  Perhaps, just as they say at the end of crappy 1950s Sci-Fi movies, there are some things man just was not meant to know.

Well, one thing I do know is that this Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup is light and tasty and perfect for a hot August night.  Give it a go.

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, Diced
2-3 Stalks Fresh Lemongrass, Sliced Thin
3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Tumeric
1/4 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
12 Cups (96 oz) Chicken Stock
1 Fresh Green Chile, Chopped, (or 1 can (4 oz) mild green chiles)
2 Tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce
2 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons (Plus More for Garnish) Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Dice the onion,

Then the lemongrass.

Sauté both in the oil until they are soft and beginning to turn golden.

Add the crushed garlic cloves and simmer for another two minutes.  Add the cumin, tumeric and lime juice and simmer another minute.  Add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a good simmer.  Add the chiles.

Note, use a chopped fresh chile if you have it.  I didn't, so I fell back on my pantry goods and used some canned green chiles.

Add the fish sauce at this point as well.

Add the chicken breasts.

Note--astute readers of this blog may note that in the previous post I sort of ragged on the idea of boiling chicken.  Well, that hols true, except when you are making soup.  See, boiling the bird leeches flavor from it--when you're done you've got a bland bird and all the flavor is left in your boiling medium.  Of course if you are making soup, that's not an issue, because your boiling medium is staying with the bird.  Also, the way we are doing things here, not only is the chicken's flavor preserved in the boiling stock, but the flavors of all the things we are boiling the chicken with are sort of imbued into the chicken by reverse-osmosis or magic or whatnot.  It's a double barrel win-win for flavor, folks.  Oh, one thing more.  Make sure to use bone in, skin on chicken breasts.  Lots of flavor in dem bones and skin that you will extract.  You can discard the bones and skin later on.

Boil the whole concoction until the chicken is cooked and tender, 35 minutes or so.

Remove the chicken breasts.

Let cool slightly (or wear food prep gloves) and then shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Add the shredded chicken back to the soup, then chop the cilantro

and add it to the soup.

Finally add your coconut milk.  Simmer 10 minutes for, stirring frequently until the coconut milk is combined through and the soup has returned to a simmer.

Serve immediately with a little extra cilantro for those that wish it.

Until next time,


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