One of my favorite places to go to lunch is a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Long on Olive. Their mein ga is a delicious chicken soup with rice noodles served up with a plate of bean sprouts, thai basil, cilantro, limes and jalapenos. The broth is rich and savory and I’ve tried to recreate that flavor at home. I make mine without noodles, which just makes more room for all the other goodies I put in the bowl. Part of the trick is simmering the chicken on low for
a few hours which adds richness to the broth. You will love this soup!
1 Whole Chicken (preferably free range or organic)
10 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 large yellow onions
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions
2–3 cups bamboo shoots
1 bunch thai basil
1 bunch cilantro
1 lime cut up
Place chicken in a large stock pot and add about 4 quarts water. Peel garlic. Set garlic piece on cutting board and place broad side of knife over it. Place your palm on the flat side of the blade and press down on garlic, smashing it. Throw smashed piece into the pot with the chicken and water. Continue with all the garlic pieces. Smashing it releases the flavor. Slice an onion into quarters and add to pot along with 2-3 t. salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on very low for about 2-3 hours. Simmering on low helps keep the broth clear. When cooked, strain the broth into another container. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones. Return all broth and meat back into stockpot. Slice another onion into thin rounds and add to pot. Slice up green onions into small rounds halfway up to the green part. Add to soup pot. Taste broth and season with more salt and pepper. Simmer on low until onions are soft and clear.
On another plate, arrange bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, jalapeno slices and lime. Serve along side bowls of hot soup. Add herbs, sprouts and jalapenos to your bowl and finish with a squeeze of lime. Delish!
(As an added bonus, this recipe is Whole30 compliant!)