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.
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? Really, though, who cares when it’s so delicious?
It’s even more satisfying when you make it yourself, oh-so-frugally from the carcass of the chicken you roasted a few days ago. Homemade stock is also on another plane entirely to the kind you can buy in a cube, and it’s so easy to produce. Simply chuck the chicken bones in a pan with some cheap vegetables and flavourings, and let it simmer away for a couple of hours. It’ll also take a lot less salt!
You can, of course, use homemade chicken stock in a variety of other recipes, 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). You can get it everywhere there; it’s the ultimate fast food, and it’s 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. 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 is 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, under the weather, or just in need of some comfort. It’s lovely and filling because of the chicken and broth, but actually remarkably low in calories, particularly if you just use the breast meat. I often eat this for dinner for a few days if I’ve overindulged; it makes me feel fantastic again in no time!
here's what you'll need...
For the stock:
- Chicken carcass(es)
- 3 stalks lemongrass, bruised
- 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)
- bunch of coriander roots
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 8 black peppercorns
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 star anise
- 1 dried red chilli
For the soup:
- 160g thick, flat rice noodles
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- 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