Dear fellow Food Bloggers,
you will all (most likely) be familiar with this situation: there’s a dish you cook up regularly, say when it’s cold and icky outside and a case of the flu is setting up shop on your doorstep. Like a classic Chicken Broth / Noodle Soup kind of a dish, or any of its comfort-foody relatives. You’re used to going though all the steps, auto-pilot being an understatement here, but the result always puts a huge smile and a satisfied expression on your faces, no matter how easy-breezy the prep seems to be by now.
Some day, you get it into your head that your special winter broth might be something your readers would like to see and try for themselves, and, without much thought behind the idea, you snap a few shots the next time the dish hits your dinner table just before successfully smothering that sneeze sneaking up behind your back with a bowlful. A few weeks later you look at the pictures you took and think… “Meeeeh. Not my proudest moment here… I’m gonna do these again, it’s not like we don’t eat this on a regular basis.” You might even do so, but then, perhaps, you or your spouse delve deeper into the whole photography thing and some new equip pops up in your house, taking your food pics a world ahead. So, the next time you see the pics you’ve first taken of your beloved little feel-good-soup look absolutely craptastic. The plan to go through yet another do-over resurfaces with guns blazing… only to sizzle and melt in the summer heat currently shutting down any kitchen-related activity. And all of a sudden, it’s been two years and those pictures! Rise from the dead depths of your photo library again to remind you that, despite the countless times you’ve made the dish in the meantime, you’ve still managed to forget about and thereby botch the whole do-over thing. Well, seeing as we’ve reached the last couple of days of the year, I’ve decided to give myself a donkey’esque kick in my derrière by actually using the slightly embarrassing not-my-proudest-moment pictures of my personal take on a “Healthy Chicken Broth with All The Fixings A Cold Winter Day Can Ask For” – in order to set up the foundation for my first New Years Resolution: I will not delay re-shooting my food whenever I’m dissatisfied with the outcome of a Photoshoot anymore!
But for now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – my GW2-inspired Chicken & Noodle Soup. During one particularly nasty weekend a couple of years back, both Hubby and I had a serious case of a cold creeping up on us – both of us were already huddled up in blankets and neither of us could muster up the energy to do more than shuffle over to the desk and go on a gaming spree for a little while. That is, until I discovered these recipes at my cooking station…
…which gave me just the spark my memory needed to remember the wonders a hearty chicken broth can work on mind, body and soul~ And voilà, that spark also had enough power to zap a couple of neurons labeled “Inspiration” to full awareness, and this little twist on the classic Chicken Broth emerged from the depths of my headspace, ready to fight off the flu before it could take over either of us. Here we go, slightly showy, spoon-wielding flu-defense in a shiny bowl for 2 pick-me-up servings~
The Chicken Rolls
2 Chicken Breasts, butterflied and flattened
All of the following veggies should be cut into matchsticks of roughly the same size and length, matching the width of the chicken pieces for an easy roll:
4 Spears of Green Asparagus
2 Spring Onions, halved
4 Carrot Sticks or Sticks of Cucumber
4 Sticks of Yellow Bell Pepper or Sticks of pickled Daikon
Opt: 1 Sheet of Nori, quartered and fitted to cover the inside of the chicken rolls
1) Place the chicken slices in front of you, the thinner end pointing towards you.
2) Cover the lower third of each piece with a fitted sheet of nori.
3) Place the veggie-matchsticks in the lower third of the nori’ed area and very tightly roll the meat up towards the thicker end, neatly tucking in the veggies.
4) Prepare a steambasket setup and get the water up to a gentle simmer.
5) Place the chicken roulades on fitted pieces of baking parchment inside the steamer.
6) Steam them for 15-20 mins on 2/3 of your stoves maximum heat.
7) Baste them with 1 Tbsp of sake each every 5 mins.
8) Leave them to rest for 5 mins once they’re outside the steamer.
9) Carefully trim off the ends with a very sharp knife.
10) Slice them into chopstick-manageble-thick slices and cover them with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep them warm until you’re ready to plate up.
The Chicken Broth
600ml Brown Chicken Stock – here’s the recipe for my Chicken Stock
3 Tbsp Sake
A 3cm Piece of fresh Ginger, freshly grated
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Peanut Oil
2-3 Tbsp White Miso Paste
1 Pinch of Chilli Flakes
1 Lime, Juice and Zest
100g Shiitake Mushrooms, thinly sliced
150g Sugar Snap Peas, halved and blanched
100g Shirataki, Soba or Ramen Noodles
Togarashi Pepper to taste
Opt: Toasted Sesame Seeds and/or spring onion ringlets to garnish
1) Pour the oil into a pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients and turn the heat to medium-high.
2) Once the oil is hot enough to sizzle up at contact with a bit of ginger, add half of the garlic and ginger and sauté the lot for about 1 min.
3) Add the sugar snaps and mushrooms, stir-fry them for 2 mins, then deglaze the lot with the sake.
4) Pour in the stock, bring it to a simmer and, once it’s merrily bubbling away, add the noodles.
5) The cooking time will vary depending on the type of noodle you’ve picked, so re-check the label on their package and simply cook them according to those time-instructions.
6) Ladle a couple of spoonfuls out into a small bowl, add the lime zest and miso paste.
7) Pick up a small whisk and have at the paste until it has dissolved completely, then stir the mixture into the main pot.
6) Give it a good stir to incorporate the new addition, then have a taste and adjust the seasoning of the broth with soy sauce, lime juice and togarashi pepper.
Assembling the Dish
1) Divide the soup and noodles into 2 bowls.
2) Arrange the sliced chicken rolls on top.
3) Sprinkle everything with a shake or two of togarashi pepper, spring onions and/or sesame seeds.
And that’s it for this year~! Thank you guys for a smashing, delicious year – the next one will be a rousing feast as well, I promise! Until then, give 2018 a proper farewell and welcome 2019 with all the joy, hope and good spirits a new beginning deserves~
Cheers! See you next week, at New Year’s Breakfast~