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Basic Asian Chicken Soup

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Asia’s basic soup has very few flavors added to the long-simmering reduced combination of chicken, water, and salt. The seasonings most often added are fresh ginger root, scallions, and a little rice wine. That broth is really the starting point for the addition of a wide range of vegetables, meats, mushrooms, and exotic herbs and spices. Noodles and dumplings are cooked very quickly to retain color and texture, and added just before the soup is served.

The soup can be frozen for up to 2 months.

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Moodblue

Taste and Texturerich, savory, spiced

Type of Dishchicken soup, hot soup, soup

Ingredients

  • One 5-pound chicken, preferably a young fowl and freshly killed, with feet, or equivalent in smaller chickens
  • About 3½ quarts (14 cups) water
  • 4 thin slices peeled fresh ginger (optional)
  • Green and white portions of 3 or 4 scallions (optional)
  • ¼ cup rice wine or pale dry sherry (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

Instructions

To prepare any chicken, bring water (other than the 3½ quarts) to a boil in a 7-quart straight-sided stainless-steel soup pot and blanch whole chicken by boiling for 10 minutes. Lift chicken out and rinse in cold water. Discard water and rinse pot.

Return chicken to pot with feet, if any, and about 14 cups of water as needed to cover chicken, plus ginger, scallions, and wine if you are using them and half of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer very slowly, partly covered, for 3 hours. Turn chicken once in a while, but do not replenish water unless chicken is more than half uncovered.

Chicken meat will have no flavor and should be discarded. Reduce soup by about one-quarter, then strain and skim off as much fat as possible. Cool, uncovered, at room temperature, then cover in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Variation (Yield: About 2½ quarts)

Simmer 10 cups canned, thoroughly degreased chicken broth (preferably low-sodium) and 5 cups of water with the ginger, scallions, and wine as in master recipe. Add chicken trimmings if you have any. Simmer, partly covered, for 30 minutes. Strain, skim, and use as called for. Do not add salt until serving.

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