Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup

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I’ve been trying to master the art of rotisserie roasting on my grill. In a post about homemade lemon-pepper chicken, I wrote:

Rotisserie roasting chicken is actually a relatively low-fat preparation. While healthiness is a great side benefit, the best thing about cooking whole chickens is the leftovers. And my favorite way to use leftover rotisserie chicken is to make soup.

There’s something very nurturing in thick, meaty stews—especially in winter—but I also like the simplicity of thin, complex broths. Think ramen or pho. A recent issue of Bon Appétit featured a recipe for Brothy Poached Chicken with Mushrooms and Fresh Chile. This recipe makes a wonderful base for Asian-style soups. It calls for poaching whole chicken breasts to make a subtle broth. But since I have whole chicken carcasses laying around, I’ve started just using them to make a flavorful stock instead. Here’s my version of the recipe.

Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 chicken carcass (plus any whole uneaten wings and thighs)
  • leftover chicken meat, pulled
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1–2 cups shiitake mushrooms, torn (or sliced baby bellas)
  • 2 green onions, white and light green parts sliced (save the dark green parts for garnish)
  • 1 fresh red chile (such as Fresno), thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring the water, chicken carcass (plus any uneaten whole wings and thighs), garlic, bay leaves, allspice, and salt to a low boil. Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove the pot from the heat. Spoon off any foam and grease and discard.

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While the stock is simmering, prep your vegetables.

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Using a slotted spoon, remove the large solids to a plate. Save any chicken wings or thighs, but throw everything else away. Filter the stock through a fine mesh sieve. Discard any small solids and then add the stock back to the pot.

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Add everything else to the pot and return to a simmer. Pick any meat off of the chicken thighs and wings and toss it into the pot as well. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

The amount of mushrooms varies based on how much you like mushrooms. But having some mushrooms is essential to the flavor of the stock. Sometimes I squeeze a clove of garlic or two out of the boiled head and smash them into a paste with my knife. Then I add the paste to the pot as well. The chicken should still be moist and the stock should be thin, but complex.

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This soup is simply fantastic. It’s a base recipe, so you can add anything else you have on hand—herbs, vegetables, meats, noodles (especially udon, which I added to the bowl in the first picture), rice, etc. When I take leftover soup to work, I usually heat it up with the noodles from a pack of instant ramen. It makes the meal more substantial and costs next to nothing.

Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup
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