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Piri Piri Bubble Chicken Soup

Nothing makes me more exited than getting a package in the mail and opening it up to find some sort of tasty food item for me to try out. Okay, going out for dinner to some place that sells, crispy spicy Korean chicken wings would make me pretty damned excited at this very moment but getting a box of Nandos Piri Piri sauces came pretty close. I really love a good Portuguese rotisserie chicken and am pretty happy that Toronto is home to a large Portuguese community so there is no shortage of great places to get it but what makes Nandos Piri Piri a bit different is that their flamed grilled chicken originates from the Mozambican–Portuguese community. The discovery of the African Bird's Eye Chili back in the day resulted in a dish that is much spicier than traditional Portuguese rotisserie. I was just about to make myself lunch when the box came so I switched out the intended aji amarillo sauce for some piri piri in my freshly made chicken stock (made from the remnants of a rotisserie chicken so it just felt destined to be) and then drizzled a tiny bit more right onto the top of the soup just before I ate it. 

Speaking of rotisserie chickens, one of my favourite lazy supper time cheats comes in a cute plastic bubble.You know those rotisserie chickens that you pick up from Loblaws on your way home from work on those nights where you are running late, there is nothing but a dried out chunk of cheddar, two slices of stale bread and a frozen pizza and a passel of hungry people waiting for you at home? For us, one bubble chicken will provide three meals. We eat it as an actual roast chicken on day one, shred up the leftover meat and do something like quesadillas on day two and turn the carcass and leftover bits into stock and make soup on day three. Three dinners out of an $8 chicken certainly works for me.

As for the Nandos peri peri, the hot is very hot, the medium is almost just as hot and the garlic is a bit milder than the medium. I think that I like the medium the best so far, although the garlic is tasty but it's a bit mild for me. The citrusy, herby flavour was a nice change from some of my other hot sauces - I do really prefer a hot sauce that is also full of flavour as opposed to straight up heat only and I can't wait to try this stuff on some chicken. I did use a couple tsp of the garlic in the soup for flavour but added another tsp of the medium for more heat so you could skip the garlic sauce and just use 2 or 3 tsp of the medium hot sauce in your soup.  This was a nice, quick way to jazz up a simple noodle bowl on an overcast, crappy afternoon and I look forward to it out in something else soon.

*Clearly, Nandos gave me the sauces to try out and play with for free but if I didn't like it, I would have just kept my trap shut and slowly backed out of the room. 

 Piri Piri Bubble Chicken Soup with Vermicelli

serves one

*2 cups bubble chicken stock
1 serving rice vermicelli (you determine what one serving looks like to you, as always, I don't judge)
1 handful brocolli florets
1 small chunk of yellow and orange pepper, sliced into strips
1 small chunk red onion, sliced
2 tsp of garlic piri piri
1 tsp med piri piri (or to taste)
handful of shredded chicken leftover from making the stock
1 scallion sliced
1 tsp black sesame seeds

*Bubble Chicken Stock

1 tbls olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
chicken carcass
kosher salt

Heat the olive in a medium sized stock pot over med heat and throw in the garlic, bay leaf, carrot, onion and celery and saute until the veg are soft and very fragrant - about 5 to 7 minutes, more or less. Put the chicken carcass into the pot (break it up if it's whole) and add enough water to cover. I always pour very hot water into the bottom of the bubble container and swish around to make sure I get all of the congealed fat and juices at the bottom and add that to the soup pot.

Give it a quick taste and add a bit of salt if needed then bring it to a light simmer and let it simmer away for at least 45 minutes. If I have the time, I like to turn off the heat and let the whole pot cool down enough that I will be able to handle the chicken but if you don't have that time, you can strain it while it's hot. So, strain the solids out and set the chicken stock aside while you pick through the solids, looking for chunks of chicken. When you have picked out all of the chicken meat, discard the rest of the bones and solids, shred the chicken and set aside until you make the soup.

Okay to make the soup:

Heat 2 cups of chicken stock in a soup pot until it comes to a light simmer. Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the vermicelli noodles in a big bowl and let them soak while you prepare the soup.

Into the simmering stock, add the broccoli, peppers, onion, piri piri and chicken meat and cook for about 4 minutes. Check your noodles and make sure they are soft and drain them, adding the strained noodles into your big soup bowl. Cover the noodles with your chicken soup (make sure you taste it one last time and adjust any salt and/or piri piri to your liking first), scatter the sliced scallions and sesame seeds on top and, if you want a bit more of a spicy hit, drizzle a bit of the med piri piri over the top.

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