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.