Traditional Chinese Chicken Soup
A popular way for families to celebrate the Chinese New Year is to make a big pot of whole chicken soup. It has symbolic meaning to serve the chicken whole for year “round” good luck!
1 whole frying chicken, about 3-½ pounds
1 oz. fresh ginger root
2 scallions, including the green top
4 medium size shiitake dried black mushrooms (soak in warm water for 10 minutes or longer until soft)
2 tablespoons salt
4 quarts (128 fl oz.) of water
Wash and trim any excess fat from chicken. Wash and use a heavier knife to crush the fresh ginger root. Wash and trim scallions, then cut in half. Drain water from the soaking mushrooms. Cut off stems (if any) and cut each mushroom into quarters.
Place the whole chicken in a large soup pot. Add crushed ginger root, green onions, black mushrooms, salt and water (approximately 2 inches of water above the top of the chicken). Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the chicken for 2½ hours. Meanwhile, the fat that will congeal on the surface and should be removed and discarded from time to time while cooking. When the chicken is tender and nearly falling off from the bone, turn off heat and discard both the ginger root and onions.
At a traditional Chinese New Year meal, the whole chicken with soup is presented in a large bowl on the center of the round table for everyone to help themselves. Or, after the presentation, the host will serve guests some of the chicken meat with broth in an individual small bowl. Serve hot.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes