Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Soup

One thing we loved in Taiwan is delicious soup at the end of every meal. I decided to cook up some chicken soup and it couldn't be any easier - incredibly comforting and satisfying.

As with any chicken soup there are some basic guidelines to follow.
1) More chicken bones = more richness/flavor
2) For a balanced soup - think high notes (sweetness from the cabbage and the ginger) and low notes (earthy/richness form the mushrooms)
3) Using a tall narrow pot ensures there will be a lot of ingredients per drop of water. A wider pot and you'll have to break down the ingredients a lot more to get the same water/ingredient ratio.

4 chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
Two chicken backs/necks
10 shitake mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion thinly sliced
1 knob ginger minced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 napa cabbage
sea salt and white pepper
sesame oil
splash xiao xing wine

1) Add sesame oil to a tall narrow pot and cook onions down until soft - not browned. Season with salt and pepper and xiao xing wine. Cook until alcohol smell dissipates.
2) Add everything else but the cabbage to the pot. Top off with water - water level should be an inch from covering the ingredients.
3) Bring to a boil, then simmer. Skim off all the fat/impurities from the top.
4) Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Skim again. Add the napa cabbage and cook for another 15 minutes - so the cabbage doesn't disintegrate. Do a last skimming and add sesame oil to finish. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. You can serve with cooked noodles or just enjoy on it's own.

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