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Spicy Lemongrass Soup

Chiles, lemongrass and ginger... the ultimate detoxifiers.
For 4 servings
  • 6 cups GOOD QUALITY, HOMEMADE chicken stock, or leftover turkey stock

  • 3 stalks lemon grass

  • one star anise "star"

  • a large thumb of ginger, peeled-- half sliced, half of it minced

  • 3 or 4 small hot chilies, minced

  • 2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce), or to taste

  • 6 to 8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms

  • a couple handfuls of super-fresh bean sprouts

  • 4 handfuls of healthy greens-- kale, chard, watercress, spinach or arugula

  • 2 teaspoons minced lime leaves or lime zest

  • ¼ cup minced mint and parsley leaves

  • a lime, cut up into fat wedges

  • Heat your stock. Trim two of the lemon-grass stalks of their toughest outer layers, then bruise them with the back of a knife; cut them into sections, and add them to the stock with star anise, sliced ginger and about 1/4 of the minced chilies. Simmer for about 15 minutes, longer if you can Peel all the hard layers off the remaining stalk of lemon grass, and mince its tender inner core.

  • When you're ready to eat the soup, remove the lemon grass stalks, star anise and ginger slices. Add the nam pla and the mushrooms. Simmer for a couple minutes. Taste the broth, and add more chilies if you like, as well as some salt (or soy sauce) if necessary.

  • In four warmed bowls, sprinkle a little each of the chile, lime leaves or zest, minced lemon grass and ginger, bean sprouts, greens and herbs.

  • Ladle the soup into the bowls. Serve piping hot, with a lime wedge.

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