Keeping Winter At Bay

After a month filled with lots of events, family gatherings, and a great deal of festivity, January can feel like a let-down. Add to that the cold weather the month brings and it's enough to have us all hiding under blankets. But there are ways to thaw yourself and bring a bit of color back to the picture:

Instead a standard chicken soup — which is wonderful, mind you — I decided to mix things up a bit by giving my soup a makeover from Thailand. But, before I even did that, I opted to use both smoked chicken and smoked chicken stock for this soup. Obviously, if you have both of those things on hand (or want to make them — I've provided links to the recipes), feel free to do the same. However, regular versions of both of those items will also be just fine. If you are making this a gluten free soup, make sure you pay special attention to the stock you choose. Many have additives that keep them from being labeled gluten free.

This is a bit of a long list of a ingredients to tackle, but if you think about it in terms of the steps of the recipe, it's not so overwhelming. You begin by sautéing a wonderful selection of flavor kings like ginger, garlic, and red thai curry paste. That's your flavor foundation. You add tomato to bring that foundation into the sauce category. Then the stock and coconut transform it into a proper broth, which gets another flavor boost from lemon grass. The remaining ingredients finish it off with additional flavor high notes and some substance and protein for the soup. Then, when it's in your bowl, you can add sriracha and green onions for even more flavor and a beautiful color contrast.

What to have with this amazing soup? How about a little plate of spring rolls and a chilled beer? It's hard to be down about cold weather when enjoying something that so thoroughly speaks of warmth. Keep the recipe handy — winter's here to stay!

Thai Chicken Soup

  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 T. finely chopped hot pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1-2 T. red thai curry paste
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 c. chicken stock - I used smoked chicken stock
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemon grass(white part only)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. light soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free version)
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 cup diced chicken — I used smoked chicken
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sriracha & green onions, for serving

In a stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped ginger, garlic, and hot pepper; sauté for 1 minute. Add the cumin and coriander powder and the curry paste; sauté for another minute over medium heat.

Add the tomato and cook until it is softened, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock and coconut milk. Add the crushed lemon grass stalk. Once it starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Season the broth with lemon juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce (or tamari). Add the chili flakes, chicken, and snow peas; simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust any seasonings and serve topped with sriracha and green onions.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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