I miss your soup and I miss your bread

It is Spring. Officially it was a few weeks ago, but the late season snow and windy weather made April come in like a lion too - or at least a lioness. Food-wise, the end of the season was marked by the Hideout's last Soup and Bread yesterday. It is all ramps and fava beans from here on out. Last week though, Andrea and I whipped up some Khao Tom, a favorite Thai soup usually cobbled together of leftovers and eaten for breakfast. By 6:00 PM our chicken soup was decimated by hungry bar patrons, so none of our friends who made it out got a bowl. But we swear it was delicious.

Khao Tom – Thai Chicken and Rice Soup
2 quarts homemade chicken stock, plus 1 cup for rice
Leg and Breast meat of one 3-4 lb roasted chicken
1 bunch of scallions sliced
1/4 cup picked cilantro leaves
7 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, divided
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili flakes in a teaball infuser (or tied up in cheesecloth)
2 cups cooked basmati or jasmine rice
1 stalk of lemon grass, peeled to center, bottom only
Salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Chicken
3-4 lb roaster chicken
3 cloves garlic
¼ onion, thickly sliced
1 lime, halved (lemon, or orange will substitute)
4 slices bacon
Kosher Salt and pepper
Kitchen twine

Wonton Garnish

Wonton wrappers
Canola/Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime

The chicken:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Remove the giblets. Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Sprinkle outside of chicken and cavity liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with garlic, onion and lime. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Wrap bacon over the chicken breast and roast on a rack, breast side up, until a thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 165° F. Let the chickens rest and cool for at least a half an hour. Remove the thighs and breasts from the chicken. Remove the meat from the bones, discarding the skin. Cut the cooked breast and leg meat into 1/2 inch squares.

The wontons:

Heat 1 ½ inches of oil in a deep, heavy, pot over moderately high heat until a thermometer registers 360° F. Slice wonton wrappers into strips about 3 in. x ½ in.
Gently lay 10 strips on oil and fry, turning over once, until golden, 15 to 30 seconds total. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Fry the remaining wonton strips 10-15 at a time. Sprinkle with lime juice (do not soak, wontons will become soggy) and season with salt.

The rest:
Cook the rice according to the package’s instructions using chicken stock in place of water (if using water, add 1 tsp salt). Add 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar when the rice is cooked. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a small sauce-pan over medium low heat. Add sliced garlic and saute slowly, stirring often, until garlic lightly browns but does not burn. Remove the garlic from the oil and set aside. (Save the garlic infused oil for another use!)

Heat up the chicken stock, slowly to 165 degrees F. While heating, add the lemon grass stalks, whole, and the teaball of chili flakes. Once the stock is hot, add the fish sauce, soy sauce, and remaining vinegar, and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Remove the lemon grass stalk and teaball. Add the cooked chicken and sliced garlic.

To serve, put a 1/2 cup of the rice into each soup bowl. Ladle the hot soup on top of the rice and garnish liberally with the scallions, cilantro, and wonton crisps.