With frigid January winds nipping at our cheeks, noses, and fingertips, our bodies are practically begging for a bowl of something warm and nourishing. One of our favorite recipes for combating the winter chill is the Thai Coconut Soup from cozy Aspen, Colo.-based restaurant and farm shop Meat & Cheese. Creamy, tangy, and unbelievably fragrant, the dish is an elevated take on the traditional Thai-style Tom Kha Gai, or chicken coconut soup. “We made a few alterations, like boosting the aromatic factor,” says chef David Wang. “Additionally, adding the pulled roasted chicken at the end instead of boiling the chicken during the cooking process gives the soup a deeper flavor with more body.” Bonus: the protein-packed bowl is gluten- and dairy-free. Check out the recipe below and whip up a batch tonight.
Thai Coconut Soup
Yields 2 qts
1/4 cup ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves (the leaves can be found at a specialty food store, or ordered online)
1/4 cup yellow curry paste ($5; deandeluca.com)
1 qt chicken stock (homemade or store-bought)
1 qt coconut milk
2 ½ limes, juice and zest
Salt, to taste
3/4 lb roasted chicken, pulled (homemade or store-bought)
6 oz hon shimeji (brown beech) mushrooms (these can be found at most grocery stores, but may be replaced with shiitake or enokitake mushrooms)
Torn Thai basil leaves, to taste
Torn cilantro plumes, to taste
Torn mint leaves, to taste
1. To make the broth, sauté ginger, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and lime leaves together. Add yellow curry paste and continue to sauté with high heat. Look for a deep color. Be careful not to let the aromatics scorch.
2. Add chicken stock to de-glaze the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add coconut milk and bring back up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve for 4-5 days or serve hot.
5. To assemble the soup, sauté mushrooms and chicken until golden brown and add to soup before serving.
6. Garnish with the herb mix.