Added by Elly McCausland

This is part 3 of a series on how to turn one roast chicken into 3 delicious meals! Click here for Part 1 – Japanese-Style Roast Chicken with Edamame Bean Rice and Part 2 – Chicken Salad with Wild Rice and Pomelo

Chicken soup. That curer of all ills. What is it about the experience of sipping a bowl of chicken broth that is so therapeutic? It’s not just the warmth, but the deeply rich, aromatic flavour that makes this dish renowned for its soothing properties. Maybe it’s the sinus-clearing properties of all that hot steam. Either that, or it’s a total placebo effect: our culture so insists on the link between broth and healing that we genuinely feel better when a bowl is placed in front of us.

Really, though, who cares when it’s so delicious? This chicken soup is given added tastiness by the fact that you’ve made it yourself, oh-so-frugally from the carcass of the chicken you roasted a few days ago. Homemade stock is on another plane entirely to the kind you can buy in a cube, and it’s so very easy to produce. You simply chuck the chicken bones in a pan with some cheap vegetables and flavourings, and let it simmer away for a couple of hours. Making your own stock also causes you to realise just how much salt they must put in those cubes: to get your homemade version to taste the same, you’ll find yourself heaping in teaspoon after teaspoon. Frightening.

 

Vietnamese Style Chicken Noodle Soup

 

You can, of course, use homemade chicken stock in a variety of recipes. It’s great for risotto and braised rice dishes. It’s good for thick, chunky soups with beans or barley and sturdy winter veg. But my absolute go-to recipe for chicken stock is this wonderful Vietnamese-style soup. It’s based on what is essentially the ‘national dish’ of Vietnam: pho (pronounced a bit like ‘fur’). In this, chicken broth is a soothing blank canvas for a slippery tangle of thick rice noodles, fresh herbs, shredded chicken meat and a good squeeze of lime to brighten up the flavours (this part is essential). You can get it everywhere in Vietnam; it’s the ultimate fast food, and its healthiness and deliciousness puts our burger and kebab chains to shame.

This is my version, which – I have to say – tastes almost exactly like the bowls I enjoyed day after day in Vietnam, perched on a tiny plastic chair outside some street stall while the steaming heat of the soup condensed in droplets on my already hot and sticky forehead. Instead of making a standard chicken stock with English winter veg, you use Asian aromatics: ginger, star anise, lemongrass, fish sauce, coriander, black peppercorns and chilli. This simmers away happily for a couple of hours, and then you add cooked rice noodles, shreds of chicken meat, sliced spring onions, chopped coriander, Asian greens, julienned carrot and a little fish sauce and lime juice to taste.

 

Vietnamese Style Chicken Noodle Soup

 

I love this soup for its colourful and comforting simplicity. Gorgeous flavoursome broth, satisfyingly squidgy noodles, rich chicken meat, then the fresh crunch of barely-cooked veg, spring onions and coriander. It’s probably unlike any chicken soup you’ve tried before, but I can practically guarantee it’ll become a go-to recipe for days when you’re feeling tired, sickly, or just in need of some comfort. It’s also, dare I say it, great for those watching their weight – it’s lovely and filling because of the chicken and broth, but actually remarkably low in calories, particularly if you just use the chicken breast meat. I often eat this for dinner for a few days if I’ve overindulged recently; it makes me feel fantastic again in no time!

Vietnamese Style Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken soup feature image

Serves: 2

Cooking Time: 5 min (plus 2 hours simmering for the stock)

Prep Time: 15 min

Oven Temperature

Fan Assisted: N/A

Gas: N/A

Conventional: N/A

Ingredients

For the stock:

Chicken carcass(es)

3 stalks lemongrass, bruised

A 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced

2 onions, roughly chopped (you can leave the skin on)

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (you can leave the skin on)

A bunch of coriander roots

4 tbsp fish sauce

8 black peppercorns

4 tsp salt

2 star anise

1 dried red chilli

Water

For the soup:

160g thick, flat rice noodles

2 spring onions, finely chopped

A small bunch of coriander, finely chopped

A couple of handfuls of leftover roast chicken, shredded

2 heads of pak choi or choi sum, or a quarter of a green cabbage, roughly sliced or shredded

1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned

Juice of 1 lime

Fish sauce and salt, to taste

Lime wedges, to serve

 

Here’s what you’ll need…

 

chicken soup ingredients part two

 

For the stock:

Chicken carcass(es) (see part 1 for a great roast recipe)

3 stalks lemongrass, bruised

A 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced

2 onions, roughly chopped (you can leave the skin on)

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (you can leave the skin on)

A bunch of coriander roots

4 tbsp fish sauce

8 black peppercorns

4 tsp salt

2 star anise

1 dried red chilli

Water

 

For the soup:

160g thick, flat rice noodles

2 spring onions, finely chopped

A small bunch of coriander, finely chopped

A couple of handfuls of leftover roast chicken, shredded

2 heads of pak choi or choi sum, or a quarter of a green cabbage, roughly sliced or shredded

1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned

Juice of 1 lime

Fish sauce and salt, to taste

Lime wedges, to serve

 

And here’s how it’s done…

 

First, make the stock. Put all the ingredients in a large lidded saucepan or stock pot, then cover with water.

 

chicken soup step 1

 

Bring to the boil then cover and turn down to a very slight simmer. Cook for 2 hours, then strain the stock into a large bowl or jug. You will need 1 litre for the soup; any left over can be kept in the fridge for a week, or frozen.

 

chicken soup step 2

 

To make the soup, first cook the rice noodles for 2 minutes in simmering water, then drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.

 

chicken soup step 4

 

Divide between two large soup bowls. Divide the spring onions and coriander between the bowls too.  Bring 1 litre stock to the boil in a saucepan, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Add the greens and carrots and cook for a couple of minutes until tender but still with a little bite, then add the chicken just to warm through.

 

chicken soup step 3

 

Turn off the heat, squeeze in the lime juice and taste: it will probably need more fish sauce or salt, so add according to your preferences.  Pour the stock, chicken and vegetables over the noodles in the two bowls, and serve immediately, with more lime to squeeze over.

 

chicken soup step 5

 

You can add whatever veg you like to this – beansprouts are traditional in the Vietnamese version, or you could use cabbage or chard instead of the Asian greens – and if you want to swap the rice noodles for egg noodles, go ahead: I’m not a pho purist!

 

Vietnamese Style Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Keep a vat of chicken stock in your fridge or freezer (stock freezes very well in a plastic tub or freezer bag), some noodles in your store cupboard, and a stash of greens in the fridge, and you have (almost) instant comfort at your fingertips. Do give this superlative soup a try; it’s the perfect finale to your frugal chicken-cooking extravaganza!

 

 

 

 

Added By
Elly McCausland
Elly McCausland is a food writer and blogger, and is also studying for a PhD – on children’s literature and the Arthurian legend – at the University of York. On her food blog, Nutmegs, Seven, she indulges her obsession with all things gastronomic; particular passions include fruit, breakfast, proper British puddings, Middle Eastern and South East Asian cuisine. When not eating or reading, she spends her free time travelling and counteracting her love of food by doing a lot of sport. All images on Elly's posts unless otherwise stated copyright Elly McCausland.