Chicken Wine Soup
Makes 10-12 servings as a tonic
Like other cultures, the Chinese make chicken soup to remedy many illnesses and conditions. This version of chicken soup benefits new mothers, especially in the colder months of winter, and is served with white rice for the first ten days and up to a month following birth. It revitalizes and renews the mother, restoring energy, warmth and tonifying blood in the postpartum period. It can also be taken following periods.
As it is a warming soup, it is not suitable in the hot summer months, or if a woman is experiencing signs of heat, such as excess thirst or night sweats. Unless you have an excellent supermarket, you will probably need to visit the Chinese grocer for some of the ingredients.
If visiting the Chinese Grocer is not possible a simpler version of this soup omits the lily buds, mushrooms and wood ears but instead uses 10 whole scallions (spring onions, roots and all, smashed with the side of a knife). This is also delicious.
1.8kgs (organic) chicken, cut up
300g ginger (reduce or increase to taste)
1/2 cup raw, skinless peanuts
1 cup “wood ears” black fungus (木耳 Mu Er)
16 Chinese dried fragrant mushrooms
1/4 cup dried unopened daylily buds (金针菇 Jin Zhen Gu)
60g pork butt (a cut from the shoulder area)
1 x 750ml bottle of good quality glutinous rice wine
First, do the SOAKING.
“Wood ears” black fungus: 2 hours in cold water for to soften. Drain and discard the water then feel for, pick out and discard any hard spots in the fungus. Rinse the wood ears thoroughly to remove any dirt and cut into roughly 4cm pieces
Dried fragrant mushrooms:30 minutes, in 1 cup of cold water. Drain and squeeze dry, keeping the soaking liquid. Cut off and discard the stems. The dried fragrant mushrooms are much more tasty than fresh shiitake mushrooms, although the latter are fine to use as well.
Dried unopened day-lily buds: 30 minutes in 1/2 cup of warm water to soften. Drain and discard the water, remove the hard end of the lily bulb. Tie each lily bud into a knot.
Next, prepare the chicken.
Set aside the chicken wings
Either chop up the chicken with a meat cleaver into bite-sized pieces or serving pieces if preferred.
Prepare the ginger by scraping off the peel with a small knife and cutting the peeled ginger into 1cm thick slices
Using a large pot, combine the wood ears, the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, lily buds, chicken wings, ginger, peanuts, pork and 6 cups of cold water.
Bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the mushrooms and return to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes
Finally… Take off the lid and increase heat to high. Add the chopped chicken and the rice wine. Return to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat when the chicken is just cooked. Serve piping hot, no more than 1.5 cups per person and include a sample of everything in the pot in each serve.