And next on our tour of soups to have on hand for those cold nights when you arrive home chilled to the bone: Hot and Sour Soup.
Lightly tangy and only a little on the spicy side, we made this version with soba noodles instead of egg noodles or ramen. It's enormously satisfying, especially with the shiitakes. If you're not going to eat it all at once (this makes about 8 servings), I also recommend that instead of storing the soup with all the veggies and chicken and such in the broth, you pack little individual tupperwares with the snow peas, scallions, the chicken, mushrooms, noodles, and store the broth separately. It keeps the colors of the greens better and the noodles from getting soggy.
One last note: this recipe includes making your own stock. You could use store-bought stock -- but honestly, it's just not as good. Do it from scratch -- it only takes an hour, and you can make it the night before.
Hot and Sour Soup
2 lbs chicken wings
10 cups cold water
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger, crushed
1 stalk of lemon grass, cut into 4-inch pieces and bruised with the blunt edge of a knife.
Combine all the stock ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the top. After an hour, strain and let the stock cool, taking off any fat that rises to the top.
1 package of soba noodles
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
Chicken stock, as made above
1 head of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp peeled chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 cup boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 cup snow peas (snap off the ends and pull the "strings" from the sides)
1/2 cup scallions cut into 2-inch pieces and halved lengthwise.
In a clean stock pot, bring the stock, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes to a boil. Add in the vinegar, sugar and soy sauce, adjusting the seasonings to your own taste. Stir in the chicken and mushrooms, and simmer until all the chicken is cooked fully through.
Meanwhile, cook the soba according to the package directions. Drain them, and then toss with sesame oil. Prepare bowls by dividing the noodles, peas and scallions among them. Portion out the soup, pouring the broth over the noodles and veggies.