This recipe is straight outta Steamboat from Tania, Bring It’s Rocky Mountain correspondent. Along with her husband, she invented this by merging three Thai recipes. As Tania says, “It can be tweaked anyway you want, but it is pretty amazing as written.” She also admits it’s a pain in the butt to make, but it’s really nothing more than a a few rounds of chopping sautéing and stirring.
What I love about this soup, beyond it’s sheer freshness, is the way it builds in the pot, kind of like stone soup. I guess this is how Stone Soup would evolve in a community with really well stocked veggie drawers. It features a lot of greens, and can handle a lot of flexibility. That said, the first time I made it I was missing key ingredients—fish sauce, mint, red peppers—and used the wrong mushrooms and imposter jalapeños. (It’s New Hampshire. It happens).The result was ok but underwhelming. The next time I made it, with the right stuff, it got the kind of unsolicited rave reviews I NEVER get from soup.
There are no amounts listed for the fresh herbs, but be generous with them, according to your taste. If you want to freelance, I suggest doing it on the amount of oil and butter used at each phase, using whatever amount looks and feels right to you. It makes a lot, so as you reheat it during the week, give it fresh cha-cha by adding more ginger, garlic and lime.
Spring Chicken Soup
Courtesy of Chuck and Tania Coffey
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- *olive oil
- 1 ½ lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 3” ginger root peeled and minced
- 2 red peppers sliced thinly
- ¾ lb shitake mushrooms sliced
- 3 limes (skin from one lime)
- ¼ c fish sauce
- fresh basil
- fresh mint
- fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
- 3 jalapenos diced
- 2 fresnos cut in rings (easterners, you are forgiven if you can’t track these downw)
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 1/2 T brown sugar
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 11 oz baby spinach (1 entire plastic coffin)
- i package straight cut rice noodles
Pour all the stock into a big pot and heat on medium high.
Grill chicken (or cook up however works for you) 8-10 minutes per side. The breasts are undercooked because they are going in the soup. When cool enough to cut, cube into 1” pieces and add to soup.
In a nonstick pan heat 1 T butter and 1T olive oil and cook garlic and ginger until fragrant. Pour into pot.
In a large nonstick pan heat 2 T butter and 1T olive oil (I used less here) and cook mushrooms until fragrant and starting to brown. Add a half cup or so water to the cooking mushrooms if they seem dry. Add to soup.
Add 1-2 T butter to pan and cook red peppers until slightly soft. Add to soup. You’re done with that pan now.
Grate the skin of a lime into soup. Add juice of 3 limes and the fish sauce to soup.Cut stems of cilantro into ½” pieces and add to soup.
Slice fresnos and mince jalapenos and add to soup.
Add coconut milk, red pepper flakes to taste and brown sugar.
Chop basil, cilantro and mint leaves and add to soup with all of the spinach (you really have to use a big spoon to get it all in there).
Cover soup partially and cook until the spinach wilts (this happens fast).
In another pot bring water to boil and cook rice noodles according to directions. (alternatively serve this over jasmine rice)
To serve put noodles in a bowl and cover with soup. Add red pepper flakes to taste.
The soup gets better the next day especially if you add a bit more garlic, ginger and jalapeno.
Looking for other fresh spring recipes? How about minty snap pea salad, or of course Marcharitas. And because it’s the confluence of soup season and sugaring season—what we lack in peppers around here, we make up for in maple—don’t forget maple oat breakfast bread.