Julie Giuffrida is Test Kitchen coordinator for the Los Angeles Times.
Catch your breath and some balance from the heat and the weekend’s festivities with a nice bowl of chicken soup.
I don’t know about you, but between last week’s heatwave, which is finally — thankfully — winding down, bingeing all day Sunday during the Super Bowl, and a post-Valentine’s-Day chocolate coma, I need something to bring me back to center. My go-to, especially on nice, chilly days, is chicken soup. The aroma calms my spirits, the broth hydrates and the bits of chicken and vegetables nourish. In addition, making chicken soup stirs up memories of various times and people with whom I have enjoyed it — and there are more ways to make chicken soup than one could possibly count. Here are five favorites from our archives.
Dak Yukgaejang (Korean Spicy Hot Chicken Soup) is usually made from beef, but in this version, chicken is substituted and works well. In Korea, this soup is often eaten on hot, hot summer days on the theory that the contrast between the body heat generated by the hot spicy soup and the outside temperature will help one feel cooler. The spiciness comes from Korean chile powder and a whole head of garlic; the body, from the shredded chicken and the eggs drizzled in at the end of cooking.
Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Chicken Soup) is redolent with the flavors of Thailand: lemongrass, galangal and Makrut lime. It gets some heat from Thai chiles and is seasoned with fish sauce. The coconut milk adds some sweetness.
If you like noodles in your soup, Pho Gà Nhanh (Quick Chicken Pho) is a true noodle fest. While the broth for pho often requires hours of simmering beef bones, this version is made with chicken, which allows for a rich broth in less than an hour. Fresh herbs brighten the flavors, and the rice noodles are gluten-free.
Sopa de Fideo is also a bit of a noodle fest. Clusters of dried noodles (fideo) are sautéed to a golden brown before being added to a rich chicken broth flavored with a puree of garlic, onions and tomatoes. The noodles, which start out thin as angel hair, absorb the broth and become thick and chewy. The soup is garnished with cotija cheese, avocado and banana slices.
For more vegetables with your chicken, this Caldo de Pollo is full of them: carrots, potatoes, chayote, green beans, zucchini and corn. Rice gives the soup additional body, making it another gluten-free option as well.
Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Chicken Soup)
The Thai favorite tom kha gai, or coconut chicken soup, gets sour flavor from lime juice, saltiness from fish sauce and spiciness from Thai chiles.
YieldsServes 4 to 6
Pho Gà Nhanh (Quick Chicken Pho)
This quick chicken pho recipe, or pho gà nhanh, provides a weeknight-ready dish that's full of comforting flavor.
Sopa de fideo
A rich chicken broth infused with tomatoes and long, stringy noodles swollen with the broth are topped with banana slices, avocado and crumbled cotija cheese.
Caldo de Pollo
A beautiful bowl of chicken and vegetables -- green beans, carrots, tomatoes, potato, zucchini, chayote -- and rice topped off with a golden slice of corn on the cob.