Chicken and Stars Udon Soup

1 7 oz pack refrigerated udon noodles (I used these Fortune brand noodles)
1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh
1 oz dried king oyster mushrooms
1/2 oz dried cloud ear mushrooms (may be labeled as dried black fungus strips)
1-quart chicken stock
4 clove garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 carrot, cut into stars (use a knife or small cutter)
1 smoked jalapeno, chopped
2 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped scallion
shichimi togarashi

Discard the flavor pack from the noodles if there is one. Rehydrate the mushrooms according to package instructions. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring the stock, chicken, garlic, jalapeno, ginger, half of the scallions, and carrot to a boil. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken. Slice the chicken into 1/4 inch thick strips, return to the pot. Add the noodles, mushrooms (with or without hydrating liquid) and spinach. Stir until the noodles are fully cooked and the spinach is wilted. Ladle into two bowls, top with remaining scallion and shichimi togarashi to taste. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:

We both were a little sniffly this past weekend and I thought some yummy chicken soup was in order.

My inspiration for this was a childhood favorite: chicken and stars soup! In this version, the noodles are udon rather than star shaped but I took a minute to cut my carrots into star shapes using a star-shaped corer I bought years ago (small cutters work well too–or if you have good knife skills-go at it!) at an after holiday sale. I then added some mushrooms we had on hand and lots of ginger and shichimi togarashi to help clear out our noses! The result was a comforting, healthy soup that was ready in under 30 minutes.

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