Monday, January 16, 2012

Chinese Chicken Soup

I always make more soup in the winter than at any other time of year. I try to give into my cravings, but in a healthy way. If that isn't possible, (thinking hamburger and fries, or macaroni and cheese) then that craving becomes a scheduled "cheat" day of which there may only be 2 or 3 per month depending on my goals. This is my new approach to "dieting" as a life-style. It's working! When trying to lose weight, I also lean heavily on low-carb meals. So, what should you do when you are craving a hearty chicken soup, but don't want any grains or higher-carb vegetables involved? That's how this "Chinese Chicken Soup" recipe was born. I starting thinking about all my favorite chicken soups. When I thought about "wonton" soup, I knew I was onto something. I love wonton soup, but how could I achieve that comfort zone without the wanton? Answer, plenty of chicken, a good broth base, plenty of vegetables, and two 8 oz. bags of mung bean sprouts as a substitute for noodles.  Note: I make huge batches of soup so that I can freeze at least half.



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Chinese Chicken Soup
4 cups chicken stock, preferably (otherwise, use all low-sodium chicken broth)
4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
8 scallions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed
8 baby bella mushrooms, or 4 medium portabella mushrooms sliced thin, and cut into bite sized pieces
1 (6 oz.) of snow peas, medium chop
2 (8oz.) bags of mung bean sprouts
1 cup of frozen chopped spinach
3 tablespoons of soy sauce (plus, potentially more salt depending on the stock/broth base)
1/8 to 1/4 white pepper to taste
1 pinch of chinese five spice
1 pinch of dried ginger
1 lb. of shredded chicken breast (cook fresh or use left overs)

1.  Gently clean off mushrooms, if necessary, and with a spoon scrap off the "gills." (I think you'll know what I mean by this picture).


2. Wash, gather, and chop the scallions, mushrooms, and snow peas.


3.  Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium high heat for two minutes.


4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the chopped scallions.



5. Add garlic and mushrooms.


6.  Add snow peas.


7.  Add chicken stock (hold back 1/2 cup if you are cooking chicken rather than using leftover chicken), broth, soy sauce, pepper, chinese spice, ginger, and bring to a simmer.


7.  Mean while cook the chicken breasts, if you don't have leftovers.  Add 2 chicken breasts to a small pan with 1/2 cup of chicken broth, no spices needed.




8.  After 5 minutes (when the chicken looks like this) flip, cover, and cook for about another five minutes or until cooked through to 160 degrees.  (The chicken will continue to cook in the soup).




9.  Shred the chicken with two forks.


10. Add the frozen spinach to the soup pot.


11. Add the shredded chicken to the soup.


12. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and serve.






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