February 2, 2017
This is the Queen of soups. As one of my old teachers would say, even the making of it is something of a ritual; it’s not only about eating but also connecting to the essence of the bones and heart of ourselves. Gathering the ingredients, putting them in a big pot and watching the transformation take place is a bit like alchemy.
The Chinese believe in the power of ‘like feeding like’. They believe that one of the best ways to nourish Blood and Qi Deficiency is with foods made with bone marrow, in China stock from marrow is said to ‘promote growth and development’ as it is full of omega 3s. This is why I say if you are cooking soups or stews use meat on the bone, and where possible cook from raw to get the best value from the marrow. When roasting be sure to use the juices from the meat; not only do they taste delicious but contain the goodness of the marrow.
The soup contains the Chinese herbs dang gui and huang qi. Dang gui is angelica root and huang qi is astragalus, both of which are gentle tonics that help to balance the female hormones. I have specially produced sachets available in the clinic.
1Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the chicken and blanch it for 5 minutes, then remove, drain and rinse it. Return it to the pot.
2Put the spices and ginger in a square of muslin or cheesecloth and tie it up to make a spice bag. Add it to the pot along with the rice wine and enough water to cover the chicken. Simmer gently over a low heat for up to 4 hours, until tender.
3Remove the chicken from the broth, allow to cool slightly, then take the meat off the bones, discarding the bones.
4Remove the spice bag and pass the stock through muslin or a fine-meshed sieve.
5Shred the chicken by hand and return it to the broth. You can add your favourite noodles or ladle the soup over cooked rice, or just enjoy the simplicity of chicken soup on its own.