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Asian-inspired chicken soup with bok choy and cabbage

It has been said that chicken soup is good for your soul (heathens take note). Unfortunately, the age of canned soups and stocks arrived at the soul-crushing expense of this illustrious staple. Today, we’re going to resuscitate the tradition of homemade chicken soup, this time with a multicultural twist!

Whether you’re feeling under the weather, or just sick and tired of bland store-bought alternatives, this soup is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Unless you happen to find a crowd that just doesn't like soup, but if that happens you should definitely find a new crowd.

Here we go...

What you’ll need:

1 whole chicken 1 large pat of butter 2 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced 1 medium onion, finely chopped 2 stalks of celery, sliced 1 head of bok choy, sliced lengthwise into quarters 1 hot pepper, finely chopped (optional) 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger root, thinly sliced or grated 1 thumb sized piece fresh turmeric root, thinly sliced 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 1-2 cloves garlic, minced Soy sauce (or tamari as a gluten free alternative) 2 quarts chicken stock 1-2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced 1 large handful of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced Scallions (optional) Sea salt Freshly ground black peppercorn

In your stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add your carrots, onion, celery, bok choy, ginger, turmeric root, hot pepper (if using), crushed red pepper flakes, and a healthy pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and begin to turn a light golden color.

Take this time to cut your chicken into quarters and remove the bones from the thighs. Slice the chicken parts into finger sized pieces and set to the side.

Add the garlic to the stock pot and cook, stirring continually, until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then deglaze with about a quarter cup of soy sauce, allowing the liquid to cook down before proceeding to the next step.

Add your stock, chicken, mushrooms, and cabbage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add additional soy sauce to taste. Serve into bowls and garnish with sliced scallions, if desired.


Other Notes

This would probably be good with cilantro and/or lime. You can also sprinkle in different herbs and spices that you like during the first step. For example, add some cayenne to bring up the heat, or some ground ginger or turmeric to really pull out those flavors. I make this soup a little differently each time, but the recipe above is a good starting point.

- Chris Freeman

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