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Pacific Rim Chicken Pot

1 (3 1/2 to 4 lb) Free Range whole chicken
2 inch piece ginger, unpeeled, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, split lengthwise, then sliced in 2 inch pieces
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled, cut in half
3 stalks celery sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 medium carrots sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion, cut into julienne strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne strips
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 (13.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
half of a 7 oz package thin rice noodles, broken in half crosswise
3 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
coursely chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, soy sauce, thinly sliced fresh Thai chiles, for garnish

Place chicken, ginger, lemongrass and garlic in large stock pot. Add enough cold water to just cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low and let simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and refrigerate in an open pan to cool quickly. Strain broth and discard seasonings. Let broth settle, then skim off fat. Return broth to stock pot an reduce liquid over moderately high heat to 6 cups.

When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat, discarding skin, bone fat and cartilage. Cut or tear the chicken meat into large pieces and reserve.

Bring broth to boil, add celery, carrots, red onion, bell pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes, and return to a boil. Boil until carrots are just tender about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk and noodles and cook until the noodles are just tender, about 2 minutes. Add chicken meat and scallions and heat through, about 2 minutes.

Divide the chicken and vegetables among six large bowls; ladle the liquid over evenly. Sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro. Pass the remaining garnishes at the table. Serves 6.