vietnamese chicken and pineapple soup
kia ly dickinson of miami, florida, writes: "this fragrant soup is so 
good you will be freaking out. it can be served hot or cold, with rice. 
the recipe is an ode to my homeland, vietnam, and i'd like to share it 
with my new friends in america." 
this recipe calls for fresh lemon verbena, but you can substitute 1 
stalk of fresh lemongrass if lemon verbena is unavailable. both 
ingredients are sold at specialty produce markets, but lemongrass is 
also sold at asian markets and some supermarkets, so it may be easier 
to find. if using lemongrass, discard 1 or 2 outer leaves, then thinly 
slice lower 6 inches of stalk. finely chop, then saute along with 
chiles and garlic. 
1   pineapple (preferably labeled "extra sweet"; about 3 1/2 lb)
  about 2 qt water
2   skinless boneless chicken breast halves (3/4 lb total)
1/4 cup  vegetable oil
4   1inch fresh red thai chiles*, minced, including seeds
3 Tbsp  minced garlic
1/4 cup  plus 2 tablespoons asian fish sauce
1/2 lb.  fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
2 large  tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
1 cup  fresh mung bean sprouts (2 oz)
1/2 tsp  black pepper
1/3 cup  coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup  coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup  coarsely chopped fresh lemon verbena
1 Tbsp  chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp  salt
accompaniment: rice 
cut peel from pineapple in a thin layer and discard, then trim outer 
layer of pineapple, cutting just deep enough to remove eyes but 
allowing pineapple to remain intact, and transfer trimmings to a 
blender. quarter pineapple lengthwise and cut out core, then coarsely 
chop core and transfer to blender. puree with 2 cups water until 
smooth. pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-quart glass measure, 
pressing hard on solids (discard solids), then add enough water to 
measure 8 cups pineapple broth. 
cut remaining pineapple into 1/2-inch pieces and put in a bowl. 
place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. gently pound chicken 
1/4 inch thick with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin. 
cut chicken across the grain into 1/4-inch-wide strips and transfer to 
a bowl, then chill, covered. 
heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately 
high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute chiles and 2 
tablespoons garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. add 1/4 
cup fish sauce and boil until sauce is reduced by half, about 2 
minutes. (fish sauce will be extremely pungent when first added but 
will have a mild flavor in soup.) add pineapple broth and bring to a 
boil. stir in pineapple pieces, mushrooms, tomatoes, bean sprouts, and 
1/4 teaspoon pepper and return to a boil. reduce heat and simmer, 
uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. while soup simmers, heat 
remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately 
high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute remaining tablespoon 
garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. add remaining 2 
tablespoons fish sauce and simmer until sauce is reduced by half, about 
2 minutes. 
sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and add to garlic 
mixture, then saute, stirring, until just cooked through, about 4 
stir chicken into soup along with herbs and salt and simmer 1 minute. 
*available at southeast asian markets and some specialty produce 
makes 6 to 8 first-course servings. 
(ID: 73278) Mirror: Tue, Sep 27, 2005

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