Chinese-style asparagus & chicken soup with egg

by Ginny Grant | Cuisine issue #148
Serves: 6-8This light, flavourful broth makes a lovely spring lunch or elegant starter

In late summer, replace the asparagus with four cobs of corn, adding the shucked cobs to the stock and using the kernels in the soup.

For the Chicken stock
1kg chicken frames (bones, wings etc)
4 slices ginger
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 spring onions, coarsely chopped
1 bulb garlic, halved
asparagus trimmings (woody stalks)

Place the chicken frames in a large stockpot with enough water to cover (around 2-3 litres) and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, skimming the surface to remove any foam. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the stock. Use immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze until required.

For the soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5cm piece ginger, peeled, sliced into fine strips
1⁄2 cup Shaoxing wine*
2 litres chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
2 chicken breasts, skinned, cut into 5mm-thick slices
1 tablespoon soy sauce
300g trimmed asparagus spears, cut into thin slices diagonally
2 eggs, lightly beaten

*Shaoxing is an inexpensive Chinese rice wine, from Asian food stores.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook gently for 10 minutes or until tender. Add the Shaoxing and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the stock and salt and bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken, soy sauce and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Pour in the eggs in a thin stream, stirring constantly until the egg forms ribbons. Serve immediately.

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