Monday, April 1, 2013

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

This is a Thai inspired soup that is very light but also very "comfort foody" at the same time.  It is one of the things I make that I seriously think tastes better than any restaurant dish.

In the middle of making this soup I thought, Oh! Duh! this needs to go on the blog!  I started snapping photos half way through, so I missed a few steps (like shredding the chicken, which isn't pretty anyway.)

To begin.... let's assume there is already about two breasts worth of kitchen in there. I don't like the texture of stringy shredded chicken, so I usually chop and then smush rather than shred.  (Smush is a very technical kitchen term, as I'm sure you're aware. *wink*)

We like to make our own stock in large quantities and then freeze it in plastic containers.  When we make soup, we just have to pull out a frozen block of homemade stock and plunk it in.  That's the giant ice cube floating in there.

Add a can of coconut milk to the broth and simmer it on low.  (I made a large quantity here, so I used two cans.) You really can't use too much coconut milk. Sooooo gooooood.

Unfortunately, last time David made stock something went awry and it is almost completely flavorless... more like colored water... So to bolster the flavor, I relied on a pantry essential for me... "Better Than Boullion"

A tablespoon or two of this semi-liquid substance, and it tastes like the best broth ever!  Highly recommend you buy this little jar for your own kitchen.  We also have "Better Than Bouillon Beef."  Great for french onion soups.

Basil & Lemongrass... roughly chopped.  I put these in early on so all their flavor can be extracted and they can get tender.  (PS - You don't actually eat the lemongrass.  It just sort of soaks in there.)

Squeeze a big lemon or a couple of limes in there too.  This is an essential step.

As you can see, one of the lovely things about this dish is the colors!  It is bright yellow in the end... much owing to the amount of curry you put in...

I never measure anything when I cook, so unfortunately I can't tell you how much to use.  All I can tell you is, "Add a lot of curry!!"

If you're cooking in a large quantity, you should always add a bit more than you expect to need because the flavor will cook out.  (I have this on good authority from NPR's American Test Kitchen.)

You remember that there's already chicken in there, right?  Well there is.

Next add mushrooms.  It's really great with portobello mushrooms or with a blend of shittake and all those unusual things. But all I had on hand were white mushrooms.  That's works wonderfully too!

Cook them up lightly in coconut oil.... partly because it adds a lovely, bright coconut flavor, and partly because it's more healthy for you anyway.

Doesn't that look tasty?

Just let it simmer and fill your house with the most delicious aromas.  Eat it when you feel like it.  It keeps beautifully for left-overs.

I know I'm supposed to take "presentation" photos... wouldn't that be nice?... but I didn't.

I like to cook black rice and put a spoonful in the bottom of the bowl and then serve the soup over the top.  The color contrast is beautiful.  The texture is fantastic.  But if you're doing Paleo, just skip the rice and you've got a top notch grain free meal.

The KawaMama
(I forgot to photograph the lemongrass myself... so I borrowed this from Tish Boyle.)

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