Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back And Better Than Ever

Good evening everyone! It's Tuesday and for the first time in a full week - we're back to cooking at Out Of The Culinary! Finally, after a terrible cold shut us (Maggie) down for about a week, she's feeling much better and is up to taking on new culinary challenges. We've had a full week to study the recipes (since we are simply using the recipes we were planning on using last week) so everything should be well rehearsed and go off without a hitch. Or not...after all, cooking is somewhat of a science and things can go wrong from time to time.

Did having a full week to study up on her asian themed chicken soup soup help Maggie become a master of far east cuisine - or are even the best laid plans foiled by unforeseen issues? I'll turn the keyboard over to Maggie so she can share her experiences from this evening's dish:

The Recipe: Thai Chicken Soup
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine - November 2010 Issue

What You'll Need:

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Onion Thinly Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
2 Tablespoons Green Curry Paste (Omitted in our version)
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Can (15 Ounces) Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce (Omitted in our version)
1 Red Bell Pepper
4 Ounces Thin Rice Noodles (Broken into pieces)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
2 Small, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Roughly Chopped Fresh Cilantro (1 Tablespoon dried)

Hi everyone!  In case you are wondering, I am MUCH better.  Granted, I feel like I'm a constant faucet with my nose running constantly, it's much better than "death warmed up" (if you know which movie that's from, 50 awesome points to you!)  As I was wrapping up my dish this evening, I pointed out to Tyler that today was possibly the hottest day in November (wearing no jacket to work today was a bonus) and we had soup.  Regardless, an interesting twist on an old favorite.  Let's begin!

Start by heating the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Once heated, add the onion and cook until lightly brown, eight minutes.  Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic (and curry paste if you so wish) and cook for two minutes.  Add the chicken broth and coconut milk (fish sauce can also be added here, if you like a little fish with your chicken.)  Cover and bring to a boil.

Once the pot is good and boiling, add the red bell pepper and rice noodles and simmer.  Keep the pot uncovered and cook until the noodles are al dente, three to four minutes.  Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through.  Depending on how thin the chicken is sliced, the cooking time will vary.  If the chicken is super thin, it will take about three minutes.  If the chicken is 1/4 inch thick, like mine, it will take about five to eight minutes, just to be sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through.

After the chicken is done cooking, stir in the lime juice and cilantro.  Once again, we opted for dried herbs, instead of fresh.  The fresh option calls for a cup, so we downsized to a tablespoon of dried, which worked out perfectly.  Add more lime juice (and fish sauce) if desired.  Ladle into big soup bowls and enjoy!

The End Result: 

I try to go into a recipe open minded and that's exactly what happened tonight.  Although all the ingredients were incredibly unique from one another, the came together quite well and worked.  The chicken base made the noodles soak up the flavor and added to the entire combination.  The flavor of the red bell pepper brought a warmth to the dish, granted it made the dish too crunchy for my liking.  I thought the coconut milk and lime juice would bring a powerful punch to this soup, but instead, it enhanced and brought a new flavor to the game.  Overall, this recipe worked out quite well and definitely was an interesting combination and addition to the soup game.

As Maggie pointed out before dinner began - today was the warmest day of the fall - 73 degrees in the metro and we were having soup for dinner. Oh well, at least it was good! The flavoring is not at all what you would assume when you hear 'coconut milk' and 'red bell pepper' in the same sentence. However, the soup was not at all spicy or overly sweet. Instead it was a nice blend between spicy and sweet - a neutral zone we will call 'savory'. This one is certainly worth a shot for all of you adventurous chefs out there!

That's all we have for you this evening. Maggie returns to the kitchen tomorrow night for yet another recipe. We're moving from far east to Italian influences for tomorrow's recipe so be sure to stop back tomorrow evening and see what Maggie has cooking. Until then,


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