Recipe: Thai Coconut Soup with Roast Chicken

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In keeping with the theme of Mindy Fox’s new book, “A Bird in the Oven and Then Some,” I used my leftover roast chicken for a second meal: Thai Coconut Soup. I really like Mindy’s recipe, but I did quite a bit of adaptation, too. Mainly, I loved her idea of adding bok choy to the soup (brilliant!) and using shiitake mushrooms, which I have seen in some Thai restaurants, but not all.

So instead of using the shiitakes raw, as Mindy suggests, I decided to saute them in the soup pot first. I used just a little tiny bit of butter, and so after the mushrooms had absorbed the butter, they ended up cooking almost dry — a method I’ve been using ever since I ran a Russ Parson story in the food section where he had discovered, quite by accident, how delicious and meaty dry sauteed mushrooms are.

You’ll know when you’re doing it right: they’ll squeak!

I removed the shrooms and then sauteed an onion in olive oil. Then I added some of the white stalks from the bok choy. And then I added the chicken stock and ginger. Unfortunately, I did not have lemongrass — even thought I’d bought it at the grocery store, somehow it did not find its way home. (The car? The bottom of the car? One of my ga-zillion market bags?)

Homemade chicken stock, coming to a simmer:

I added 8 cups, rather than the 6 Mindy wanted me to. (Because I freeze it in quart bags.) Because of that, I upped the coconut milk content from her recipe, too.

Here are the magical ingredients, through, fish sauce and lime juice:

I stuck with the same ratio here. Delicious.

Following Mindy’s advice, I put some raw bok choy and raw shiitakes in the bowl:

My chicken was still rather chilly from the refrigerator, so I decided to warm it up in the broth rather than just putting it in the bowl. So in we poured the soup:

Mmm. Great for a cold winter’s night — and to use up your leftover roast chicken.

Thai Coconut Soup with Roast Chicken
Adapted from Mindy Fox’s “A Bird in the Oven and Then Some” (Kyle Books)

1 tablespoon butter
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and 3/4 of the caps sliced lengthwise; 1/4 of them diced into smaller pieces
1 tablespoon onion, chopped rough
1 pound bok choy
8 cups chicken stock, homemade if you’ve got it
1 (3-inch) piece or ginger, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 fresh lemongrass stalk, trimmed and outer layers discarded
2 cups shredded roast chicken
2 (14-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
Chile garlic sauce
Fresh cilantro

Set a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the butter and melt it.

Add the 3/4 of the mushroom caps that were sliced lengthwise and saute, stirring occasionally, until the butter is absorbed and the mushrooms have shrunk and are squeaking on the pan. When they stop squeaking, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Trim the bottom 1/4 inch of the bok choy and separate the leaves. Cut the green leaves from the white stems. Stack the leaves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Cut the stems into 1/4-inch cubes. Divide the leaves and the other 1/4 of the mushroom caps among your soup bowls. Set bok choy stems aside.

Add oil to the pot, then onion. Cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add bok choy stems and cook, stirring, about one minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the broth is fragrant and infused with the spices, about 20 minutes

When the broth is fragrant and infused with the spices, whisk in the coconut milk. Continue to simmer about 15 minutes more. Add the chicken and heat through, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the lime juice and fish sauce.

Remove the pot from the heat and with tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the lemongrass and ginger chunks and compost them. Ladel the soup over the vegetables — being sure to include a hearty amount of chicken and mushrooms. Spoon about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon chilie-garlic sauce (I loved using my Korean gojuchang) into each bowl. Garnish with cilantro. Pass around extra chile sauce at the table.

Serves 6 to 8.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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