I was sick last week, which doesn’t even begin to register on the International Scale of Interesting Events. I only bring it up because it leads us to something that ranks pretty respectably on the International Scale of Good Soup for the People. It was savory, it was brothy, it was full of vegetables, and it was face-meltingly spicy (not that yours has to be). It also allowed me to crawl my way back into polite society and not be a snotty mess* anymore.
*Just a regular mess
I recovered, I went hiking, strangers gave me cookies, and life was good again.
This was also the first time I finally felt justified in getting groceries delivered. It seems so extravagant — much more so than ordering delivery of prepared food. But I did it, and I liked it, and I’ll probably do it again, even when I feel just fine. If grocery delivery in lieu of shopping myself means that one person instead of dozens has to see me in the same clothes I slept in, I think that’s a pretty neat public service.
Yuzu Kosho, if you’re unfamiliar, is the Japanese condiment made of yuzu zest and spicy peppers. Yuzu is an exceptionally aromatic citrus fruit, so the result is a heat unlike any other. I’m a little obsessed with it.
As for the soup itself, it’s nothing complicated, and a great start if you feeling like playing with this to suit your tastes. Dashi broth may be nice if you strike a nice balance between its delicate sea-like flavor and the brawny punch of the yuzu kosho. Soba or ramen would both be fine choices as far as the noodles go. Vegetables, it goes without saying, are a whatever-you-have-and-whatever-you-like situation.
Please also note that you don’t even need the chicken. Miso paired with vegetable broth would give this plenty of savory depth for a vegan dish. (I’ve heard rumors that vegans are just like the rest of us and get sick, too.)
I know I always say I hope you’ll make whatever it is I’m writing about, but in this case, I’d rather you didn’t (unless you’re some weirdo who eats chicken soup when it’s nice outside and you’re feeling 100% — in which case, keep shining, you strange little diamond). I hope you’re in tip-top condition this weekend, so let’s go play and reconvene next week to talk about it, ok?
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon Yuzu Kosho, plus more to taste (I used 2 tablespoons and it was quite spicy)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- 14 ounces fresh udon noodles
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 lb baby bok choy, cleaned and halved or quartered
- 3 stalks green onion, sliced, plus more for garnish
- In a medium-sized pot, heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken thighs and cook them without disturbing them until they're nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side.
- Add the Yuzu Kosho, ginger, and garlic. Stir and cook for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Add the broth and bring it to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the udon noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse, and set aside.
- When chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot using a slotted spoon or tongs. When cool enough to handle, dice it and return it to the pot.
- While the chicken cools, add the bok choy and carrots to the pot and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pot if you haven't already, stir in the noodles and green onion, and serve immediately, garnished with more green onion.