Thai Chicken Soup

Thai Chicken Soup

I’ve not made Thai Chicken Soup before. I think I just assumed because of its flavoursome quality and spiciness that it would be a real faff. Plus, we don’t tend to eat a lot of meat at home, so chucking in the chicken element, just complicated things. Well, we’ve now got over ourselves and made a big batch of it last night. Utterly delicious and wildly simple to cook, in a relatively short time. Plus, the added bonus of not too much washing up.

I chose this when we were staying in Veli Losinj, and chose to eat in one night at the hotel. The menu was very eclectic – definitely much more global than is usual in Croatian restaurants, and I couldn’t resist the spice factor. The soup was so gorgeous that we needed to recreate it at home – and the recipe below is one we cobbled together from what thought might go into it, the fusion of ingredients from recipes found online and what we had in the cupboard/fridge. If you make it, hope you enjoy it as much as we do…

INGREDIENTS

  • Sweet potatoes (four, peeled and chopped into cubes)
  • Large clove of garlic, sliced thinly
  • About a 2cm piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • One stem of lemongrass, peeled and bashed up to release the flavour
  • Red Thai curry paste
  • Two or three fresh chillies, de-seeded and chopped
  • Veggie (or fish) stock
  • Coconut milk (one can)
  • Very lean chicken fillets, cut up quite small
  • Brown sugar (about a teaspoon)
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Fresh coriander (leaves for garnish & stalks for flavour)
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper to season

METHOD

It really couldn’t be simpler. Heat the coconut oil gently and saute the garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander stalks and a handful of leaves and lemon grass for about 10 minutes, over a low heat. Add the cubes sweet potatoes, the stock, the Thai red curry paste, sugar, lime juice and the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, slowly, and then simmer until the potatoes have softened. Whizz the mixture with a hand blender and when smooth, add the chicken pieces and heat through for no more than 5-6 minutes. Check that the meat is white – if it is, your soup is ready. Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves. We served ours with the most amazing toasted brown bread, with carrot, from Lidl (in Istria, so may not be available in the UK), but I suppose any kind of bread (toasted or not, depending on your taste) would work as well. Or pitta bread, or naan or flat bread. I think the next time we do this, I’ll add rice noodles, cooked separately and then when the soup is ready, poured over the top.

A perfect supper dish, for a late summer’s evening. And, I imagine, for a cold winter’s night. Perfect, therefore, at any time.

 

Seriously The Best Lentil Shepherd’s Pie…

Seriously The Best Lentil Shepherd’s Pie…

…so claimed the author of the recipe on the website. And as we were craving a Shepherd’s Pie – we don’t eat minced meat and had no Quorn mince left – we decided to test out this rather bold claim and give this vegan option a whirl. It was easy to make, if a bit more time consuming than our usual efforts, but well worth every second of preparation.

The onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and herbs were gently sauteed first, in a skillet with the potatoes boiling away in another pan. The veggies were taken off the heat when they started to soften and brown, and the potatoes were mashed. Into the mash went four cloves of crushed garlic (I know, but we are self-isolating!), a tin of coconut milk and a cup of rice milk and seasoned. This was then put to one side – and I defy you not to take sneaky spoonfuls! – and a tin of lentils were cooked in a bouillon stock for about half an hour.

The vegetables which had previously been sauteed, were added to the lentil mix with peas and a splash of soy sauce, and simmered until most of the stock had gone. The mashed potatoes were scooped on top, flattened out with a fork, and popped in the oven for about 30 minutes.

I can honestly say, it was one of the best Shepherd’s Pies we’ve ever made. If you’re a meat-eater, you might baulk at the idea of lentils instead of minced meat, but the flavours are so intense, I think even an ardent carnivore would be impressed. However, the best part it is the garlic coconut mashed potato. I always need to have my mashed potato layered through with different cheeses to give it more flavour, and with a good sprinkling of either very strong cheddar or parmesan for the crust, and I did wonder how I’d cope without my cheese fix. However, I barely missed the cheese – this mashed potato really is the king of mashed potatoes! Creamy and garlicky and rich – and still with a crust.

So, yes, that bold claim is quite correct – this is seriously the best lentil shepherd’s pie. Give it a try – you will not be disappointed! The original recipe can be found here – and I’m already trawling the website for the next meal inspiration…

The recipe is on an American website, so measurements & quantities are slightly different – we just went with what we thought would work and didn’t pay too much attention to the measurements. All worked out well in the end 😉