Oh, the utter simplicity of making this Japanese-style chicken, shiitake and bok choy soup… No sauteing, no spice base. This is soup is about clean flavor.
I imagined myself enjoying this soup while watching the snow fall through the window. Japan is lovely in the fall, I have yet to experience it in winter but, based on photos I’ve seen on Instagram, Kyoto is even lovelier when blanketed in snow. My girl friends and I are already in the initial stages of planning a winter trip to Japan. But, until then, my imagination will have to suffice.
Making this soup is a two-step process. The chicken thighs and legs are boiled to remove impurities, rinsed then cooked with grated ginger, salt and the liquid in which dried shiitake had been soaked.
The softened mushrooms are added halfway through the cooking time. The bok choy goes in during the last stage of cooking.
For an authentic Japanese experience, enjoy the soup with a bowl of rice on the side.
Chicken, Shiitake and Bok Choy Soup
- 6 large dried shiitake mushrooms
- 500 grams chicken thighs and legs
- 1 one-inch knob ginger peeled and grated (save the juice too!)
- 1 generous bunch baby bok choy rinsed
- Place the dried shiitake in a bowl. Cover with hot water. Place a plate over the mushrooms to weigh them down. Leave to rehydrate for about six hours.
- Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid. Cut off and discard the stems. Cut the caps into quarters.
- Strain the soaking liquid.
- Boil about six cups of water in a pot. Drop in the chicken thighs and legs. Boil vigorously for about five minutes.
- Drain and rinse the chicken.
- Wash the pot (discard the water) and pour in the strained mushroom liquid. Add enough water to measure a total of six cups.
- Add the chicken, ginger (with its juice) and about a tablespoon of salt to the liquid in the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Lower the heat, cover the pot and cook the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how large they are.
- Taste the broth. Add more salt if needed. Add the mushrooms to the chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Taste the broth once more and sprinkle in more salt, if necessary.
- Add the bok choy to the chicken and mushrooms. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the bok choy stalks are tender.
- Give the broth a final taste test and adjust the seasoning, if needed, before serving the chicken, shiitake and bok choy soup.
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