Posted tagged ‘chicken’

Vietnamese noodle salad with shrimp and chicken

September 17, 2021

This recipe uses bean threads, an unusual kind of noodle that are made from mung bean flour. They are gluten free, which will please some people, and don’t need cooking, requiring only soaking in hot water to soften them. The are available in any Asian market and some well-stocked supermarkets; they typically come in small (~2 oz) packages with 6-8 packages bundled in a mesh bag. They are sometimes labeled as vermicelli. This salad is really tasty and makes a cool, refreshing meal in hot weather. Serves 4, can be doubled.

Star anise is an important component of this dish, adding a subtle licorice/fennel flavor. It too can be found at Asian markets. It’s cheap and it keeps forever in the pantry. I suppose you could try subbing fennel seeds but I have not tried it.

  • 2 large or 3 small chicken thighs (about 12 oz)
  • 1/2 lb shell-on medium shrimp
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger cut into 1/4 inch coins (no need to peel)
  • 6 star anise
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2 scallions, whites and most of the greens, sliced thinly
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 4 packages bean threads
  • 1 English (Kirby) cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded if desired, and sliced into thin half-circles
  • 1/3 c each fresh mint, cilantro, and Thai basil, chopped (use regular basil if necessary)
  • To taste, fresh hot red peppers such as Thai peppers, seeded and sliced thinly (1-3 peppers, or omit)

Bring 6 c water, the ginger and anise, and 1 TB salt to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer for about 20 min. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 min. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.

Return the liquid to a simmer and add the shrimp. Simmer for a couple of moments, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Remove the shrimp and set aside to cool.

Cut or shred the chicken into small pieces, discarding any skin/bones. Peel the shrimp and cut crossways into 2-3 pieces each.

Strain the cooking liquid, discarding solids, and return to pot. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in bean threads. Check for texture after 5 minutes and let sit longer if needed. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut thru the noodles a few times with shears to get more manageable lengths. The broth can be discarded or saved for another use.

Put the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar, carrot, scallions, and a few grindings of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the noodles and toss well. Add the chicken, shrimp, cucumber, herbs, and peppers and toss again. Chill and toss again before serving.

Really good chicken stock

April 30, 2011

If you want really delicious chicken stock (or broth or bone broth, same thing (no matter what some people tell you), the kind you can just drink from a cup and that makes great soups and sauces, forget about using table scraps and bones. The flavor is in the meat, and you need lots of meat to make good stock. I wait for sales when I can get whole legs for a good price, then make a bunch of stock and freeze it. Wings will work too, but with the chicken wing craze they are hard to find on sale. If you can get feet and/or necks, add them too. This recipe requires a large pot, and can be halved if needed. You’ll get about 8 quarts of stock from this.

Some chicken stock recipes get too complicated for me. You have to brown the chicken, or use old stewing hens, and so on. These recipes may give great results, but my idea was a simple process that would give you great stock without too much fuss. So, here we go.

12 whole chicken legs or equivalent in wings
2 medium onions, halved (don’t bother to peel)
2 large or 3 small stalks celery cut in large chunks
2 large carrots in chunks
5 whole unpeeled garlic cloves cut in half
10 whole peppercorns
2 tsp salt
5 bay leaves

Put everything in your stock pot and cover by about an inch with good quality water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium low heat – this will take a while. Or to save time, heat on high until hot, then reduce heat. For clear stock it is essential that the liquid never boil, as that incorporates fat into the liquid and makes it cloudy–just use a gentle simmer. And gentle means gentle with a bubble or two coming to the surface every few seconds. Stir once in a while–after a couple of hours the chicken will be falling apart. Continue simmering for another hour or two or three, adding water as needed to keep the chicken submerged.

Let cool for a while then use a spider, slotted spoon, or tongs to remove most of the solids. You’ll have a lot of meat that is essentially tasteless. If you pick it off the bones your dog or cat might like it, otherwise discard.

There will be a layer of fat on top of the liquid. Skim most of it off and save for other uses, such as sautéing potatoes, or discard. Not down the drain, though, where it can solidify and cause a clog. 

Strain the stock through a fine-meshed strainer. For best clarity strain again thru cheesecloth. It’s now ready to use or freeze.

If the chicken has rendered a lot of fat, you are in luck. Skim it off the stock and strain it, if necessary. You now have schmaltz, great for sautéing potatoes and a host of other uses. Store in the fridge.


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