Nothing does a better job of showcasing hard cider than food. My wife and I are hopeful that we can soon restart our cider parties. In the meantime, we continue to explore different food and cider pairings. One of my recent favorites was a spicy Thai chicken soup with rice noodles that my wife made. Besides being gorgeous to look at, it had the perfect balance of heat and flavor. It had a wonderfully creamy base that combined heat from both the curry and spices as well as the swizzle of sriracha sauce on top. The chicken and noodles were both tender and flavorful and my little molasses sourdough petite breadsticks were the perfect accompaniment to the spicy and creamy soup.
The key question is what cider to pair with it? In 2020, I augmented my normal Black Magic hard cider recipe by increasing the amount of peels by 3-4 times the previous levels. I basically used the peels from all the apples that I pressed in my primary fermentation. My goal was simply to make a red hard cider. I succeeded in not only making a red cider but in creating a very fruity and phenolic hard cider. It has great aroma and is balanced by an astringency and slight bitterness. It was a great pairing with this chicken curry soup. The acid in this hard cider cleans your palate but there is also a perception of sweetness. This comes from the fruity aroma. The finish is nice as it has a slight bitterness and good astringency. Besides the taste, it’s also a beautiful red color. I believe most phenolic ciders will naturally have an amber hue given the polyphenols it contains. However, this cider is definitely red and I think it’s quite attractive.
Thai Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles
Serving: 5-6 (2 cups per serving)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
4 cups chicken broth
13.5 oz coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
1 medium sized lime, squeezed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
8 oz rice noodles
2 cups rotisserie or slow cooker chicken, shredded
1/4 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
5-6 lime wedges
- Heat the oil and ginger in a soup pot on medium heat until tender (3-5 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Add curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and turmeric.
- Mix ingredients, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered.
- Cook rice noodles as directed on package. You can also cook in advance, store in the refrigerator, and reheat briefly in the microwave or with a dunk in hot water.
- Shred rotisserie or slow cooker chicken and set aside. This can also be done in advance and lightly heated in the microwave. You do not need the noodles and chicken to be hot, only warm as the soup will bring them both up to temperature.
- Place noodles and chicken in soup bowls or mugs and ladle hot soup over them.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and a squizzle of sriracha sauce on top with a lime wedge on the side.
Alternative Commercial Hard Ciders:
Don’t make hard cider or not sure you have the best cider for this pairing? Here are a few commercial cider alternatives that I feel will pair well with these delicious eggs.
Arkansas Black by Botanist & Barrel
Whimple Orchards by Courtney’s
Meditations by Stoic
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