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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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    Warm, comforting meal

    Ann Maloney

    THE WASHINGTON POST – If you cook regularly, you probably have a stash of recipes that you consider “keepers” – the ones you make again and again because you love the flavour and they always turn out just right. But do you have 100 such recipes? Me neither.

    For her third cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, food blogger and author Deb Perelman decided to gather only recipes that met those stringent criteria.

    “I realised how much I wanted to be able to hand my kids a collection of recipes specifically written with making them forever in mind,” she wrote in the introduction to her third cookbook.

    Perelman began her Smitten Kitchen cooking site in 2006, and in the years since, she has amassed a loyal fan base with her comforting, straightforward cooking. For this cookbook, she wrote that she worked through more than 500 recipe ideas to arrive at these 100 sweet and savoury dishes.

    The appeal of Perelman’s recipes is that she makes them at home, and her ingredients are, for most folks, easily accessible.

    Often, she includes tips that are transferrable to cooking in general.

    In this recipe, she noted that instead of buying chicken stock, she simmers boneless, skinless chicken thighs – fattier and so more flavourful than the breast meat – with aromatics to create a base. Then she added the ginger and garlic to give what would be a mild, comforting soup some oomph. She also frequently shares a little something that’s easy to do but gives the dish a bit of polish. In this case, the soup is finished at the table with a quick sauce made of Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili crisp for heat.

    And Perelman anticipates issues that might arise for home cooks. For example, she noted that you should add the noodles right before serving or they will keep “drinking” the broth until there is little left.

    I made the soup twice, loved it and then asked a friend to try it out as well. She served it at a dinner party and got raves all around.

    Is it a keeper? Yes.

    And so is this cookbook.

    Ginger garlic chicken noodle soup. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST



    For the Soup

    – 10 cups water

    – Two pounds of chicken thighs

    – Six cloves garlic, thinly sliced

    – Three-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or finely grated

    – Eight ounces scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated

    – Two teaspoons fine salt, plus more to taste

    – Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)

    – Eight ounces curly or other dried ramen noodles

    – About one cup of carrot, cut into matchsticks

    For the sauce

    – Quarter cup Chinkiang vinegar

    – Quarter cup soy sauce

    – Two tablespoons toasted sesame oil

    – Chili crisp, to taste (optional)


    Make the broth

    In a four to five-quart pot over high heat, combine the water, chicken, garlic, ginger, scallion whites, salt and pepper, if using, and bring to a boil.

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

    Make the sauce

    While the chicken simmers, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili crisp, to taste, if using.

    Make the soup

    Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Add the noodles and carrots to the broth and cook following the directions on the noodle package, about three minutes.

    While the noodles cook, using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and rewarm for two minutes. Taste, and season with more salt and/or pepper, as needed, keeping in mind that the finishing sauce will add both saltiness and heat.

    Divide the soup among bowls. Add the scallion greens, and drizzle each bowl with one teaspoon of the soy sauce mixture, placing extra sauce and chili crisp on the table, if desired.

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