I love soup (I think I’ve said this before!). Here’s a recipe that is pretty flexible for asian-style chicken soup. The broth is a little clearer with less herby flavor and different sorts of veggies are used. My picture doesn’t really do it justice but it gives you an idea!
- Chicken legs and thighs (about 2-3 lbs.) – Breast meat isn’t as flavorful and gets dried out if you use it exclusively in this recipe; however, you can have some chicken breast to add later if you’d like.
- Vegetable oil
- Water (about 2 qts., although you can adjust for as much liquid as you want!)
- 1 teaspoon salt for every 2 qts of water you use
- Vegetables: Some possibilities are daikon radish (for a “real” asian flavor!), cabbage (green or napa), carrots, mushrooms (white, cremini, oyster, straw… any kind you want!). You can vary the amount.
- Green onions for garnishing (optional)
- Cooked rice (optional)
- If you want, cut the chicken legs and thighs into two parts using a big cleaver. (This makes it seem like there’s more meat in the soup.)
- Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large soup/stock pot over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown on all sides. This will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. This helps release some yummy chicken juices so that the broth is very flavorful.
- Meanwhile, heat up two quarts of water. This can be boiling or just “hot;” it basically helps speed up the cooking process so that you don’t have to wait for the water to warm up in the soup pot.
- Add the water to the pot and turn the heat back up to medium.
- Add salt.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down again to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Meanwhile, prep your veggies. If using diakon radish, wash well and then slice into thin 1/4″ rounds. If using cabbage, cut into chunks. If using carrots, peel and cut into two-inch pieces, then cut each piece into thin 1/4″ slices (they’ll look like rectangles). If using mushrooms, wash or wipe and cut the bigger mushrooms into slices or halves. The overall goal is to get the veggies into sizes that will allow them to cook through at about the same time. Note: If using green onions, chop but add them as garnish at the end.
- Add the veggies to the soup and simmer until they’re tender but not mushy.
- Taste the soup without burning yourself and adjust the salt as necessary.
- Serve over cooked rice, garnishing with green onions if you like that sort of thing.
If you really like chicken breast, you can add it during step 8 to cook it through, remove it, and shred it. Add the chicken meat after the veggies are cooked (step 10) before adjusting the flavor.