meeting Dorie Greenspan when she was in Toronto to promote her gorgeous new cookbook, Around My French Table. The 15-minute interview flew by -- not surprising since we both love all things food and all things French -- and I couldn't wait to crack open the book at home and start cooking away.
Not long after the interview my friend Bonita told me about French Fridays With Dorie, where fans cook their way through the book each week and post about their experiences. What a great idea! I missed the first two weeks -- Gougeres (Week 1) and Gerard's Mustard Tart (Week 2) -- but I was determined to join in the fun this week, albeit a day late. And I'm glad I did, because the Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup is hands-down the best soup ever to come out of my kitchen.
I was initially perplexed about the inclusion of a Vietnamese soup in the French-themed cookbook, but Dorie in the recipe introduction explains the two countries' historic connection -- Vietnam was once a French colony -- and the enduring influence of Vietnamese cuisine there.
I stuck pretty close to the ingredients and method given, as I tend to do whenever I try a recipe for the first time. I went with Chinese egg noodles over rice vermicelli (both were listed as options), chose skin-on-bone-in chicken breasts (rather than skinless, boneless) to poach in the broth as I wanted the extra flavour, and I didn't skimp on garnishes. I like a soup with lots of stuff in it, so I threw in a big handful of bean sprouts, lots of cilantro and fresh basil, daubs of hoisin sauce and sambal oelek, and a squirt of fresh lime juice over everything.
I'm not ashamed to say I ate two bowlfuls. This will definitely be a recipe I come back to again and again.
Interested in participating in French Fridays With Dorie? Find out more info here, and follow the Twitter feed here.