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Making soup…Samurai style

Perfect chicken soup recipe

Okay, first things first, a couple of statements to divert the inevitable snarky, know-it-all, blog-nazi  comments…

I know that “Asian” is a common generality, which is typically a bad thing in most subjects and even more so when plastered over the subject of cuisine…

I know that “Samurai” (or more correctly “Bushi”) were specifically the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan, and not any of the other countries I reference…

I know that these two words are then, obviously, a contradiction in terms…

HOWEVER…that said, ‎I like alliteration, it’s my blog, and it makes for a snappy post title, so I’m going with it. 😉

Okay…done with that.

The reason for this post, and recipe, is that after much happy experimentation, I am of the not-so-humble opinion, that “Asian” cultures are the gods of broth and stock-based soups (cream soups and bisques, stews and chowders, I might give the nod to France, but this ain’t that post…)

That said, what makes the soups of Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, etc., etc., so amazing is more about technique than ingredients…though they certainly have some amazing ingredients…the most basic difference between how “they” make soup, and how “we” make soup, is technique, most importantly the technique of prepping each individual ingredient separately for optimum taste, instead of simply tossing them in a pot (or, God-forbid, a slow cooker) to become a one-note burbling homogeneous cauldron of meh.

Example: If you’ve ever seem a properly prepared bowl of pho being made, and you really should, it’s amazing…you’ll note that the bowl is first loaded with cold cooked noodles, cold cooked meat, and raw veggies, then, filled with boiling-hot stock, to bring everything to a balanced temp.

This allows each ingredient to maintain its own specific flavor and  uniqueness, but still maintain the crunchy texture of the veggies, the perfect texture of the meat (brisket and tendon, please) and the chewy elasticity of properly cooked noodles (this, btw, is the same reason that ramen is best when the noddles are cooked, cooled, and the dipped in hot stock at the last moment, on the way to the mouth).

So, I said to myself, “Self…what if I tried this classic style, this “cook first, then assemble” technique, of Asian-style soup cooking, with that most classic of Western soups, Chicken Vegetable. (The fact that my wife and daughter are sharing a horrific cold this week, didn’t hurt in the decision making process of the test subject, either…)

So, here we go! (Spoiler: it’s awesome…)

Chicken Vegetable Soup using “Asian” Techniques

For the stock:
Bones and skin of 1 rotisserie-roasted chicken
1 whole head of roasted garlic
1 cup roasted carrots, chopped
1 cup roasted celery, chopped
1 lemon, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped and packed
2 Tbs. fine sea salt
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. whole fennel seed

1/4 cup sweet cream butter

For the soup:
3 ears fresh sweet corn, cut from cob
2 cups carrot rounds
2 cups celery chunks
1/2 cup shallot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken

The best Chicken Soup Recipe

Rotisserie Chicken (I prefer Costco)

Debone one whole rotisserie chicken, save bones for stock, and meat for soup.

Roasting veggies for chicken soup

Roast celery, carrots, and onions on at 450F oven until browned (but not burned).

Best chicken soup recipe

Combine chicken bones, skin, roasted garlic, ginger, parsley, lemon, fennel seeds, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add roasted veggies, cold water to cover, and bring to a simmer.

Best chicken soup recipe

Dice carrots, celery, shallot, ginger, and set aside.

Best chicken soup recipe

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Cut fresh corn kernels from ears, set aside.

Chicken soup stock

Strain meat and veggies from stock, and whisk in butter.

Veggies for chicken soup recipe

Pan-sear diced carrots, celery, shallot, and ginger i a little stock, until just starting to soften. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

The best chicken soup recipe

Assemble pulled chicken, sauteed veggies, and raw corn in a bowl.

Perfect chicken soup recipe

Ladle simmering broth over the top of the veggies, taste for salt and pepper, and top with fresh chopped Italian parsley.

Perfect chicken soup recipe

Optional additions: Rice noodles, soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, jalapeno slices, Sriachi sauce.


Chef Perry