Okay, get ready this is the best soup we made all year I'm pretty certain. And I don't mean the only few days of 2014 so far but of all of 2013.
Yes, it took many steps and some time but the flavor of this lemongrass broth and the delicateness of the homemade chicken and shrimp wontons was absolutely PERFECT! I mean really perfect. It was sooooooo good. We ate it for lunch and dinner (4 meals) two days in a row. That rarely happens. If I had it for lunch usually I don't want it also for dinner but this soup was so amazing it was a no brainer. We ate as much as we could until it was gone.
Actually just writing about it makes me want to make it again as soon as I can.
A trick I'll share that I've finally learned when making a wonton or noodle soup like this is to cook your wontons or noodles in the broth. But then remove them from the broth. Serve the amount of wontons you want in each bowl then top with the broth. Don't store the wontons in the broth if you have some left over in fridge. The broth will just get soaked up.
Chicken & Shrimp Wonton Soup with Lemongrass Broth adapted from Food & Wine
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- 1 pound chicken breasts on the bone, skin discarded
- 1/2 pound spareribs or baby back ribs, cut into single ribs
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 3 black cardamom pods (optional; see Note)
- 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (see Note)
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 10 cups water
- 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, tender white inner bulb only, chopped
- One 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
- 3 cilantro sprigs
- 2 scallions, halved
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 ounces shelled and deveined shrimp, minced
- 2 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
- 1 red Thai chile, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon minced cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon small leaves, for garnish
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 12 square wonton wrappers
- 1 scallion, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced, for garnish
- MAKE THE BROTH In a pot, heat the oil. Add the chicken and spareribs and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Add the cardamom pods, peppercorns and star anise and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add all of the remaining broth ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, skimming off the fat, until the broth is reduced to 6 cups and very fragrant, 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large saucepan; skim off any fat.
- MAKE THE WONTONS In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the wrappers and garnishes. Arrange 4 wrappers on a surface; keep the remaining ones covered with a damp paper towel. Brush the wrapper edges with water. Place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Bring all 4 corners of each wrapper together and twist the top gently to form into purses. Press the edges to seal. Transfer the wontons to a plate. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling; cover with plastic wrap.
- Bring the strained broth to a boil. Add the wontons and simmer over moderate heat until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Spoon the wontons into bowls and ladle the broth over. Garnish the soup with the sesame oil, cilantro leaves and sliced scallion and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The wontons can be refrigerated for 8 hours. The broth can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.