Panera Bread has finally come to Mississippi. At last, I get to see what all the fuss is about!
I few weeks ago, I met my parents at Panera for lunch. It was a windy, cold day. I thought a bowl of soup and a sandwich sounded perfect. Since I am a lover of all things Asian-y/brothy, I was intrigued by the Thai Garden Chicken Wonton broth bowl.
As soon as I put that first spoonful to my lips, I knew The Husband would love it and that I had to figure out how to recreate the recipe at home.
Making the homemade wontons is not hard, but it is most time consuming part of this dish. After that, this soup is a breeze. You will end up with more wontons than you need. However, they freeze beautifully. Freeze them in a single layer on a baking pan, then transfer them to a plastic bag once they are solid. Or, you can always drop the leftovers for a few minutes in hot oil for a tasty, crispy snack (that’s what we did!).
I found the pickled Thai chili peppers at my local farmer’s market. If for some reason you can’t find pickled Thai chili peppers, you could substitute pickled jalapenos. But I would not recommend leaving that ingredient out entirely. It makes the broth.
Clarification: I don’t use the actual chilis in the soup. I used the vinegar from the jar to season the broth. If you can’t find pickled Thai chilis, another reader used chili sauce with success.
I am by no means touting this as a “copycat” recipe, but it comes pretty darn close. The best thing about this soup is that you can get creative and add your own favorite Asian condiments.
- 16 ounces (1 lb.) ground chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 36 2-inch square wonton wrappers
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups Napa or Savoy cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
- ½ cup matchstick carrots
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- ½ cup frozen chopped spinach
- ¼ cup thai chili vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 10-12 wontons
- Cilantro, for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, green onions, oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil.
- To assemble the wontons, place wrappers on a work surface. Cover unused wontons with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Have small bowl of water nearby.
- Spoon 3 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with the water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a triangle. Pinching the edges to seal. Dap a little water on the two corners of the triangle. Bring the points together and pinch to seal.
- Keep the wontons covered with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Heat the chicken broth in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Once the broth comes to a boil, add the cabbage, broccoli, and carrots. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, spinach, thai chili vinegar, and ginger. Carefully stir in the wontons and continue to simmer until the wonton wrappers are opaque and the wontons feel firm, about 2 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro, if desired.