Vero’s Tom Yum Soup and homemade chicken stock

Posted by: Naomi Bourne on 28.01.16 in Recipes

Veronica is a Cordon Bleu trained chef who loves cooking paellas, making Ă©clairs, eating all of the above, and doing Pilates. She is the loveliest of people & her food is DIVINE!!

Yum Yum soup 🙂

1 heaped tbsp of tom yum paste (or more, to taste)

500 ml of chicken stock *

Any leafy greens/kale/chard

1 chicken breast (cooked or not)

Bring chicken stock to simmer and If the chicken is not cooked, poach it whole for 10-15 minutes. Take it out, slice it and reserve. Add tom yum paste. Taste it, season it lightly and add more paste if you fancy. Drop a large handful of greens for a few seconds if it’s spinach, for longer if it’s something like kale. If you’re using chard, cut the stems off in pieces, poach them for a minute or two and add the cut up leaves for a few seconds at the end. Distribute the soup in two bowls, add the sliced chicken breast and finish with a squeeze of lime if you have any around. This soup is incredibly versatile, you can add (frozen) prawns instead of chicken, forget about animal protein and make it with mushrooms, bulk it up with rice noodles, top it up with coriander, mint, spring onions. It’s perfect for a weekday lunch or dinner, and what I love about it is that it’s delicious in the same way comfort food is, and that it’s dead easy to make.

Chicken Stock

There are as many chicken stock recipes as grandmothers in the world but here I’m going to give you two of them. One is the French canon and pretty much the base of all the variations in Europe and the States and another one, with an Asian tilt, by David Chang, of Momofuku fame, which is quick and brilliant. The classical one takes a long time and yields a decent amount of broth, the second one is quick and the flavour is achieved but reducing the stock.

The French chicken stock (this one would yield a decent amount of broth, enough to freeze)

Couple of chicken carcasses (butchers usually sell them in bags, frozen, for next to nothing)

Couple of onions cut in half

A carrot cut in half

A leek in half

A celery in half

(leek and celery could be omitted if you don’t have any around)

A bouquet garni (This is a bay leaf, couple of parsley stalks, couple of thyme sprigs and a celery frond wrapped in a bit of leek and tied with a string but you could make do with a couple of bay leaves and any herb)

Have a bowl with clean water and a ladle ready. In a big pot, place the carcasses and cover with cold water, bring to boil, reduce to a medium low heat and with the ladle, skim the impurities and the fat as they rise to the surface. Do this until the broth is clear and you don’t see any foam or fat, it shouldn’t take more than 10/20 minutes. Then, technically you should change the water, but if you’ve been careful and the impurities haven’t clouded the broth (this happens if it boils too hard), you can just top it up with cold water, add the vegetables and the bouquet garni, bring back to the boil, reduce to medium low heat and simmer for a couple of hours. let it cool, sieve and discard bones and vegetables.

Ok, at this stage you do have a very versatile chicken stock. To make it better, get a chicken, cut it in 4 pieces (2 thighs/legs, 2 breasts plus the carcass) and poach it, for 30 minutes to an hour, until it’s cooked through (remember to skim the impurities and fat again). Pass through a sieve or simply fish the bits of chicken out and pull apart all the meat discarding the skin and bones.

The stock would be delicious as the base of the yum yum soup and you have tons of chicken meat to use in soups, salads, stir fries, wraps, you name it!

If you don’t have any time, try David Chang’s chicken stock

One whole chicken cut in pieces

Couple of onions

Couple of spring onions

Couple of shallots

Couple of carrots

Couple of garlic cloves

The aromats

In one big pot with cold water, put the chicken, bring to the boil, skim impurities and fat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until the chicken is cooked through.

In a small pot, put the vegetables and the aromas and simmer the same time.

Take the chicken out, put apart the meat and discard the bones. Reduce (the shit out of) the stock. Add some of the vegetable stock and season.

It’s at this point where you can keep going on making the frankly delicious ramen soup of the video (adding soy sauce etc) or you can use this broth for the yum yum soup.

And one last thing, you definitely use a good store bought chicken stock as you’re adding tom yum paste which is packed with flavour. And, dare I say it, if one is desperate, water would be ok….shhh.