Chinese Chicken-Vegetable Soup

soup-chopsticks.JPGToday, Sarah shares a soup recipe to satisfy the whole family:

The eternal struggle to find a meal for dinner is one of the banes of the mom’s existence. For millennia, we’ve been combining this and substituting that to discover the holy grail of a single dish that will fill hungry bellies, fuel growing bodies, tempt picky taste buds, and soothe savage budgets, all while being prepared with a minimum of fuss, prep, and time. Oh, yeah, and the same goes for tomorrow. And the day after that.
Recently, however, I think I may have nailed it. I’ve made this recipe before, but it went so smoothly from fridge to chopping block to pot to table to tummies I was positively a-tingle.

You can substitute the veggies that your kids will eat, or veggie broth and firm tofu if you’re not carnivores, or whole wheat soba or spaghetti for the won-tons, but this has been a hit with my whole family (including my ravenous husband) every time for about a year now. And four servings plus at least three of leftovers cost $12 or so. It’s a must-share recipe.

With apologies to those of authentic Asian descent, I present:

Chinese Chicken-Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 plus leftovers
~25 minutes prep and cooking time

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced fine (optional)

  • 2 boxes chicken stock (32 oz. each)
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
  • 1 2” chunk ginger root
  • ¼ c low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (or to taste)

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, in 1” cubes (or one package firm tofu, drained and cubed)

  • 1 large or about 12 baby carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups white button or other mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced on the bias
  • 3 heads baby bok choy, chopped or 2 cups broccoli florets (frozen is fine)

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s chicken cilantro mini won-tons (or ½ lb whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half and cooked according to package directions…this also could serve as a way to use up pasta leftovers)

    1. Heat oil in a 6-8 quart stock pot. Add onion (and red pepper, if using) over medium heat 3-5 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add chicken stock, garlic cloves, ginger root, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil, and simmer 5 minutes. Add diced chicken breast and simmer LOW about 3-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (If substituting tofu, add at the end.)

    Add carrots, mushrooms, scallions, and bok choy or broccoli and simmer 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add won-tons (or pre-cooked spaghetti noodles) and simmer 1-2 minutes. Add salt to taste. Pick out the ginger and the garlic. Serve in large bowls with spoons and chopsticks – my kids love the practice, and it helps them eat more slowly.

    Tons of veggies, great flavor, fun to eat, easy on the wallet… this will definitely be appearing once a week at my house! Enjoy!

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