Spicy Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup

Turned out to be just one of those weekends where things are just not going right. Had to go into the office on Saturday morning for a few hours to make sure things were going well. Unfortunately, I felt a cold coming on the day before and yes, stuffy nose and all, Saturday morning. I hate colds! On top of all that – it’s been raining for 2 days straight!  Now I know that most of you will go “really, rain for two days? What’s the problem?” However, I live in Arizona and this is not common for us; it’s supposed to be my favorite time of year.  Always sunny with temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s.

With the rainy weather and “cold temps” (yea sorry, cold temps for me!), I was in the soup mood and Cavewoman was all for it. Being that I made chicken noodle soup a few weeks back, I decided I wanted something different. I decided to tackle a spicy Udon noodle soup. Traditionally, I am a huge chicken noodle, chicken and dumpling, & chicken pot pie fan – but I wanted to change it up with spicy zesty Asian flavors. That’s where the Udon noodle soup idea came in.

Being that I was a prisoner in my home, (rain and all) I went all out and made my own chicken broth. This really isn’t something I would recommend because nowadays you can buy chicken broth for a lot cheaper than you can make it. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t beat the flavors of homemade but for $10 a bowl, you can make it a lot cheaper with store-bought broth. So, if you’re feeling adventurous, check out my chicken broth recipe; if not, don’t be shy and buy the broth, I have plenty in my cupboard.

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What you will need:

  • 2 tbsp. bacon fat (or other oil)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 habanero, seeded and chopped (or 1 small jalapeno for less heat)
  • 3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced (1 package)
  • 3 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced (1 package)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast recipe follows
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 (7-ounce package) udon noodles, prepared according to package directionsoyster1[1]
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • 2 baby bells chopped for garnish
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, for garnish (optional, adds a good crunch)

 

Prep

Grab a small stock pot and fill it with about 8 cups of water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes. Add your chicken breast and bring the water just to a rolling boil. Then you will want to reduce the heat to a simmer and let the chicken cook. It will take about 15 – 20 minutes. Once it’s cooked set the chicken aside and let it cool and then shred it with a fork.

Caveman Tip*** If you boil the chicken it will seize up and get tough. You want to gently boil or simmer the chicken. I also like to add some dried herbs to the water to help add flavor to the chicken. You could also bake it or grill it whatever you want to do.shiitake01[1]

Cook

I like to use the same stock pot as I cooked the chicken in, less dishes to clean. To the pan add the bacon fat or oil and give it a medium heat. Next add the onions, celery, carrots, ginger and garlic to the pan. Cook until the onions become soft, stirring frequently.

Once the onions are soft, add the 8 cups of chicken broth and the diced habanero. Now turn up the heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Let the broth simmer for about ten minutes with the lid off.

Caveman Tip*** By letting the brother simmer with the lid off, it will reduce the liquid slightly and give you a more concentrated flavorful broth. Always taste the broth at multiple times this will give you an idea if it needs more salt or other seasoning. I can’t say this enough; always taste your food as you cook.

While you are finishing you broth get a pan out and cook your noodles as the package describes, don’t forget to salt the water.Shredded Chicken

Caveman Tip*** I like to boil my noodles in a separate pan from the broth that way I can salt the noodles and the starch released from the noodles doesn’t get in my broth.

Once the broth is where you want it add the shredded chicken, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for another 20 minutes with the lid on. This will allow the beautiful flavor of those mushrooms to infiltrate that broth and give it an earthy flavor.

Grab a bowl; place your noodles in center and ladle the broth in. I like to garnish with a little cilantro, bean sprouts and red baby bell peppers.

Enjoy!