Silkie Chicken Ginseng Soup

Ingredients

  • Silkie chicken (black chicken)
  • 10 - 20g of ginseng roots or ginseng slices
  • 2 inch ginger root, sliced
  • 20 dry jujubes
  • 2 tablespoons goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice cooking wine
  • water
Instructions

How to prepare the chicken

  1. Pre-cut the whole chicken into small pieces. You can certainly make broth with a whole chicken, and then cut the chicken after cooking. I have made my chicken broth both ways, and I tend to prefer cutting the chicken into manageable size before cooking for a few reasons. One is that it’s not fun to touch boiling hot chicken after it’s cooked in a soup; another is that after cooking, you will likely rip the chicken apart instead of getting clean-cut pieces out of it; and most importantly, you can get rid of more impurity from the pre-cut chicken during the first boil. The trick to cut up a whole chicken is to enter the knife between bones where they naturally separate.
  2. To remove impurity from the chicken, you want to submerge the chicken in cold water first, and then bring the pot of water and chicken together to a boil. If the water is boiled first before adding chicken into the boiling water, the heat will seal up the surface of the chicken meat preventing the blood and impurity from being released. Bringing the chicken and water to a boil together will get more impurity out of the chicken.
  3. You will see a layer of thick foam and scum floating on top of the water. Some people skim the foam, but many people discard this water altogether. I always discard this batch of water, rinse any scum that may be stuck on to the chicken and scrub the scum stuck on the pot if re-using the same pot.
  4. Refill the soup pot with clean water, chicken and other ingredients according to the recipe. This will ensure the most delicious, clear and beautiful broth.

Putting together the Chicken Soup

  1. Cut the whole chicken into small pieces by separating between the bones. 
  2. Submerge the chicken in a pot of cold water, then bring the pot to a boil. Heating up the water and chicken together will bring out the most impurity. 
  3. Let the water boil for a couple minutes. There should be foam and scum floating on the surface of the water. Turn off heat. Discard this batch of water. 
  4. Rinse the chicken pieces to remove any scum that may be stuck on the chicken. If re-using the same pot to make soup, rinse the pot to remove any stuck-on scum as well.
  5. Fill a clean soup pot (I use a traditional clay pot) with 10 cups of clean water. Add the clean chicken pieces, sliced ginger, and 2 medium ginseng roots. Bring the soup pot to a boil and simmer with lid on for 1 hour.
  6. Remove the ginseng roots from the soup, they should be softened now. Cut the ginseng roots into slices, then add them back into the soup pot. Add 20 clean jujubes (red dates), then simmer for another 30 minutes.
  7. Add 1/2 cup of rice cooking wine, 2 tbsp of goji berries into the soup pot. Season with sea salt to taste, about 1 tsp. The soup shouldn't taste salty, and it should be slightly sweet. Simmer for another 15 minutes, remove from heat.
By Eric Tran
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