Chicken and Mustard Greens Soup
A rustic soup made with very few ingredients. Use bony parts of the chicken, the freshest mustard leaves and ginger, and the best quality fish sauce for best results.Inspired by a recipe I saw on Andrea Nguyen's Viet World Kitchen which includes tofu but does not list ginger among the ingredients, I decided to add ginger because mustard greens in the Philippines are more bitter than their Vietnamese siblings and I wanted another strong flavor to balance the bitterness.
- If using chicken backs, chop each into two to three pieces. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Peel and thinly slice the shallots.
- Peel and slice the ginger.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
- Saute the shallots and ginger until softened and lightly browned, about five minutes over medium-low heat. Push to the sides of the pot.
- Spread the chicken pieces on the bottom of the pot and turn up the heat to medium-high. Leave the chicken for a minute to allow the undersides to brown. Flip to brown the opposite sides.
- Drizzle in two tablespoons of fish sauce. Continue cooking until the fish sauce has been absorbed by the chicken.
- Pour in about six cups of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and let the chicken simmer for 20 minutes or so.
- While the chicken simmers, rinse the mustard greens and shake off excess water. Cut off the root ends and discard. If the leaves are rather large, cut them into halves.
- Taste the broth and add more fish sauce, if needed.
- Drop the mustard greens into the pot. Press them down into the broth to soften. Continue simmering the chicken with the mustard greens for another five to seven minutes.
- Give the broth a final taste and stir in more fish sauce if still rather bland before serving the chicken and mustard greens soup.