It is finally starting to feel like Fall in Texas and I wasted no time unpacking my scarves, sweaters and jackets. Cold weather is short-lived here, so the minute I feel the brisk breeze, the refreshing sense of a chill, I rush to embrace all that is Fall -- my favorite season of the year.
With cold, comes the need for comfort. The nights have dropped down to the low 40s recently so I figured, what better relief for your tummy (and soul) than a big giant bowl of chicken soup? My mom often made this soup for me as a child. I always enjoyed the perfect combination of aromas of shiitake, ginger and chicken slowly simmering away, filling the entire house of comforting goodness. Usually this broth simmers for the entire day to draw the flavor out of the bones, but to save cooking time I am using a store-bought chicken broth. "Double Chicken Broth" means that chicken broth is used to poach more chicken, resulting in a richer and more intensely flavored broth.
Ingredients for Double Chicken Broth:
- 1/2 pound chicken breast/thigh, boneless, skinless
- 2 quarts store bought chicken broth
- 1 quart of water
- 2 slices of ginger - about 1/2" inch
- 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 package of firm tofu - cut into 1" cubes
- 1 package of rice vermicelli
- bean sprouts and scallions for garnish
For the Double Chicken Broth, rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 15-20 minutes. Trim any visible fat from the chicken breast/thigh and discard. Place the chicken breast/thigh in a big pot and cover with stock and water. Bring to a boil and add ginger and mushrooms. Reduce to a medium-low heat and let simmer for 40 minutes. Meanwhile place the tofu on absorbent paper and allow it to drain. and prepare the noodles. Different brands will differ in cooking time, but vermicelli noodles cook fast. Once the water is boiling, don't leave the noodles in for longer than a minute and immediately drain with cold water. Prepare the garnishes and set aside.
Taste the broth and season with salt accordingly. Add tofu and strain mushrooms and chicken from the broth. Cut into strips when cool enough to handle and place in each serving bowl with 1/2 cup of vermicelli noodles. Add hot broth and tofu over each bowl when ready to serve. Garnish with cut scallions and bean sprouts and finish with a pinch of ground white pepper.
I really love the different textures in this soup -- the crunchiness of the bean sprouts, the chewiness of the juicy shiitakes, paired with the thin rice noodles swimming in a supple delicate broth. Simply divine. If you have any questions on how to actually make double chicken broth from scratch, contact me and I can give you the recipe.