Last week, my entire family joined the ranks of the unlucky. In perfect succession, one day after the next, we all caught a miserable, exhausting, no-fun and very bad flu. I can’t help but think that this nourishing soup accelerated our recovery. With plenty of garlic, ginger, and fermented goodness, it’s Jewish penicillin crossed with Asian homeopathy. By day two, we were all thankfully back on our feet.
The rich, almost buttery broth has the aromatic intensity of one that has been simmered for hours, but it need only sit on the stove for 15 minutes. For those of you who prefer to leave out the chicken, you won’t be missing out on flavor. This is one recipe that encourages creativity. Try yellow or red miso for a deeper brew, perhaps with some thinly sliced beef and mushrooms as a garnish. You might also try adding green beans, asparagus, spinach, brocollini, carrots, sliced bok choy, fresh cilantro, tofu, rice, or all of the above.
Who knows…given daily doses of this soup, you might even have a chance at dodging the bug altogether.
1 quart (4 cups) homemade chicken stock
1 quart (4 cups) water
2/3 cup white miso paste
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce
A 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, sliced (unpeeled)
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed with the back of a knife
2 skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
A couple handfuls of snow peas
2 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
1. In a stock pot, place the water, broth, miso paste, fish sauce, ginger, garlic cloves, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the soup uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the broth through a sieve into a medium pot and place back on the heat.
3. Add the chicken and snow peas; simmer 5 more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each with a pinch of sliced scallions.
To store, cool down the soup before putting in a plastic container. Keep refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.
During soup season, you might also enjoy Plum Tomato Soup with Baby Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Farmers Market Vegetable Soup.