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The title is pretty self explanatory. It is January 7th, 2014 and almost 200 million people in the US are suffering the extreme cold of the Polar Vortex. Chapel Hill is COLD with a wind chill of around -10 degrees this morning.
This is how the Polar Vortex played out at our house. Of course, food was a main character. On Friday, Buck and I took our first, long anticipated trip to the Asian Market in Durham. We stocked up on some great soy sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil and some bean thread and tapioca noodles. I couldn’t resist the big beautiful bag of baby bok choy and the pristine enoki mushrooms. As usual, the culinary wheels began to whirl and stayed busy for a few days while I thought about my new pantry ingredients.
Last night, after a long and busy day I resorted to my favorite kind of quick meal...using only one pot to cook in and a bowl for eating. I thought about making a stir-fry, but I was even too lazy for all that stirring and making a separate pot of rice. Now that is pretty lazy.
So I rummaged through my fridge and went to work. There was some smoked turkey stock I had made from the carcass of our holiday bird. I had a red bell pepper, those gorgeous enoki mushrooms and bok choy. I had some chicken drumsticks that were ready to cook. In about 20 minutes, the pot was bubbling on the stove, the vegetables prepped, the table set and all I had left to do was wait. I decided I needed a little something for the stick-to-the-ribs factor so I added several handfuls of broad rectangular tapioca noodles.
We served our soup in big bowls with an assortment of soy, tamari, a hot chili sauce and sesame oil to taste. Here’s the basic recipe. Keep in mind you can substitute other fresh veggies, poultry cuts, tofu or even fish or shrimp. If I use seafood, I would also add some fish or oyster sauce and use fish stock.
This is guaranteed to warm you up. I took off my hoodie after the first few bites.
Chinese Chicken Pot
6 chicken drumsticks
8 cups poultry stock or 6 cups stock and 2 - 4 cups water
1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
6 whole baby bok choy
1 cup edamame, (I used frozen)
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in one inch pieces
2 ounces fresh mushrooms (I used whole enoki)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion
2 ounces of tapioca noodles, bean threads or rice noodles
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Place the drumsticks, stock, bell pepper, garlic and ginger in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add bok choy, edamame, sesame oil and noodles and simmer another 3- 5 minutes. Add scallions and enoki mushrooms just before serving. (If you use another heartier mushroom, you need to cook them longer so I would add them with the bok choy.) Serve your favorite soy sauce, hot sauce, tamari or sesame oil on the side.