I am not a soup maker. Soup is something that I rarely make, and is rarely something that I reach for when I am hungry, unless I am looking for a light meal. As kids, we were never enthused when Mum gave us soup - it seemed like second prize when there was nothing else on the go.
For this reason, when I saw that this week's French Fridays with Dorie pick was a soup recipe, my initial thought was, "meh". A soup comprised of 6 cups of chicken stock with some bits in was seriously not enticing me, nor was the picture of a pale broth in the book.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised once again. I dutifully made Dorie's Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup, not having any high hopes for it, and wondering what to do with the leftovers. At the start of cooking, with lots of chicken stock and not much else in the pot, I was still unconvinced. But pour in some coconut milk, poach some chicken in the broth, throw in a dash of coriander, add some noodles for body, and (in my case) some curry powder and lemongrass - and you have magic! This is a full bodied, satisfying, lightly spiced soup, and the curry powder really gave it some zing.
I have been eating this soup for dinner this week, and I have not been disappointed one night - this is definitely not a "second best" soup.
As well as making the curry and lemongrass variation suggested by Dorie, I used black peppercorns (as white seems to be a rare commodity here), I didn't wrap my coriander stems and star anise in cheesecloth ('cause it is not something that I keep in the house), used chilli powder instead of dried chillies (my supermarket doesn't stock them) and left out the coriander seeds (because I didn't have any). Also, I found it easier to shred my chicken with a fork - it is easier on the fingers (ouchy - hot!), and gives finer pieces.
To check out what everyone else thought of this soup, visit the LYL section of the French Fridays with Dorie website.