Chicken Udon Noodle Soup
This isn't your ordinary Mom's or Campbell's over-salted Chicken Noodle Soup. Udon noodles, lemongrass, and mushrooms take the soup to the next level.
chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless
2 small, butterflied (cut horizontally almost all the way through and then opened like a book)
freshly ground to taste
3 medium size, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise, and smashed with the side of a chefâ€™s knife
brown sugar, light
chicken broth, low salt
stemmed and quartered (1-1/2 cups)
or Thai bird chile, sliced into thin rings
leaves, fresh and torn, plus sprigs for garnish
half juice and half cut into wedges
soy sauce, tamari
or to taste
freshly chopped, for garnish
scallions, spring or green onions
trimmed and sliced, for garnish
cut into matchsticks, for garnish
Heat 1 and ½ tablespoons of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering hot.
Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon 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), about 2 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the shallots to the pot.
Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the shallots start soften, about 2 minutes.
Stir in 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.
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.
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 the 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.
Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.