Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

Cover recipe- Fine Cooking,        Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass: April/May 2010

The current issue of Fine Cooking features A Guide to Asian Noodles and Six Inspiring Recipes that Show Them Off.  The cover recipe- Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass– is one of those show-off noodle recipes.  Those pillowy, fresh udon noodles caught my eye, along with the squeezed wedge of lime on the edge of the bowl.  I was intrigued by the photograph, wondering what sort of noodle dish would pair well with lime juice.

The magazine shares, From udon to soba and beyond, Asian noodles make everyday dinners new. Fill your pantry with some of the many options available, and try these easy, inspiring recipes.  I’m in complete agreement with the fact that udon noodles can be the base for really great dinners.  This “soup” recipe is full of all-kinds of of interesting ingredients such as lemongrass, fresh ginger, shiitake mushrooms, basil, chiles, and lime.  Read my notes below to see my take on how it turned out.

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 35 min

Cook Time: 25 min

This soup is also a great destination for shredded, leftover roast chicken in place of the chicken breast. Just add it to the soup along with the chiles, basil, lime juice, and soy sauce.

Ingredients:

2-1/2 Tbs. canola oil
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 lb.), butterflied (cut horizontally almost all the way through and then opened like a book)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 medium shallots (about 4 oz.), peeled and thinly sliced into rings
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise, and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
5-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
3-1/2 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (1-1/2 cups)
9 oz. fresh udon noodles
1 Thai bird chile (or 1 small serrano pepper), sliced into thin rings
8 large fresh torn basil leaves; plus sprigs for garnish
1 medium lime, half juiced and half cut into wedges
1 Tbs. soy sauce; more to taste
2 medium scallions, trimmed and sliced, for garnish (optional)
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks, for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1.  Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook without disturbing until it’s browned and releases easily from the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is browned and almost firm to the touch (just short of cooked through), 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool.
2.  Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the shallots to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the shallots start soften, about 2 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the ginger and lemongrass sizzle and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and raise the heat to medium high. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the noodles, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.
4.  Use your fingers or the tines of a fork to shred the chicken.  Add the chicken and noodles to the broth and cook until the noodles are completely tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Discard the lemongrass.  Stir in chiles, torn basil, lime juice and soy sauce; season with more soy to taste.  Divide the noodles among 4 large, deep bowls.  Ladle the soup over the noodles, and garnish with the basil sprigs and scallions, carrot, and cilantro, if using.  Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.

Tips:

*I used a serrano pepper (I find the Thai bird chile too hot for my taste).
*Fresh udon noodles can be found in Asian markets, but they should be easily available at your regular grocery store too... wherever the wonton wrappers are found (refrigerated section).
*I used all of the optional garnishes, and I recommend that you do that too.
*Only very skilled chopsticks users will be able to eat this with chopsticks.  The chopsticks shown in the picture above were for aesthetic, photographic value, and then I dragged out my fork to eat the rest.  Yes... a fork.  This "soup" is more like a noodle dish than a soup.  You can sip the broth after you eat up all of the good stuff.  Or use a spoon, cutting up the noodles as you eat.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/4 of the soup
Calories per serving: 500
Saturated Fat per serving: 2g
Sugar per serving: 4.9g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">930g
Fiber per serving: 5g
Protein per serving: 35g
Cholesterol per serving: 45mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 59g

Source:  Fine Cooking, April/May 2010

The results:

Everyone in my family loved this.  I was careful not to make it too spicy. This was my first time ever using lemongrass, and I loved the mild lemon flavor that it imparted into the soup. I thought the udon noodles put a great spin on traditional chicken noodle soup.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely, YES!  It fit the theme perfectly, and showcases a wonderful, unique way to use udon noodles for dinner.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

11 Responses to “Wine- Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta”

  1. 1

    Tracey — January 7, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    I’ve borrowed this magazine from my library on at least 3 occasions to make this recipe and still haven’t done it. Your post might be just the inspiration I need to finally get to it! I’m glad to hear you loved it – it really looks wonderful!

  2. 2

    noble pig — January 7, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    That did turn out nice, it looks so lovely in the pot.

  3. 3

    Lisa — January 7, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

    The photo of your dish is amazing! You’ve inspired me to make this dish again.

  4. 4

    Claudia — January 11, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

    This does indeed look wonderful. I may have to pick it up! Last year, as a New Year’s resolution, I cooked all the cover recipes from Bon Appetit. and posted the results in Cover Girls Cooking. I have since incorporated it into my Italian blog – but have been wondering what magazine to cook this year. Stick with Bon Appetit or go to something like Fine Cooking. This looks so good, I shall have to investigate.

  5. 5

    LilSis — January 11, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    This looks really good. If it’s time consuming, it would be a good one to make on a Sunday afternoon when things aren’t as rushed as weekdays.

  6. 6

    Jennie — January 13, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

    This looks positively divine. A weekend dish to share for sure. Can’t wait to try it. Although, I wonder if I could just cut up a whole chicken rather than buy all the separate pieces? I usually eat pastured chicken’s which is not only better for you but the taste difference is amazing. But it’s only affordable if you buy it whole. hm…

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 14th, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

      Jennie- I’m sure you can try it with whole chicken parts. Keep the skin on!

  7. 7

    Daniel@thefoodaddicts — January 13, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

    Looks like a good hearty meal!

  8. 8

    Carl Dorsey — January 17, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    When I grow up I want to be just like you! This is a great start and your photos are amazing. Your photo alone makes me want to try this recipe. I just started my blog and without a camera, I haven’t even posted any recipes yet. That will change this upcoming week though! Again, I really like both of your sites.

  9. 9

    Penelope — January 31, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    HI Lori – This braised chicken dish looks absolutely wonderful. I would like to make it for an upcoming dinner party for 6 people. I really like that it can be made 2 days ahead. Since the recipe serves 4 can I just cut the recipe in half and add that amount to the 4 servings recipe? Would that work? Thank you for your help.

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 31st, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

      Penelope- Personally, I’d choose to double the recipe if you can… the leftovers are amazing! But yes, you have the right idea in terms of halving the recipe & adding to the original to feed 6. Enjoy!

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