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Chicken and Soba Noodle Soup

Thin, brownish gray soba noodles, made from buckwheat, are enormously popular in Japan, where they are prepared year-round. There, on hot summer days, the noodles are eaten cold, arranged on a bamboo lattice rack with dipping sauce, while on chilly winter days, the noodles are immersed in piping-hot broth. Soba noodles are available fresh and dried in Japanese markets; the dried variety may also be found in the ethnic aisle of well-stocked supermarkets. Look for yellow miso paste in the same places.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 lb. dried soba noodles
  • 4 cups chicken stock or prepared broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup yellow miso
  • 1 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 boneless, skinless whole chicken breast, about
     1⁄2 lb., cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 green onions, white and light green
     portions, thinly sliced

Directions:

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the stock, water, miso and ginger. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the miso is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken strips and cook until the chicken is just opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until slightly softened but still bright green, about 1 minute. Add the green onions and cook for 1 minute more. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Using tongs, divide the noodles evenly among warmed bowls and then ladle in the soup. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Variation Tip: Turkey strips may be used in place of the chicken.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2001).