Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicken-Ginseng Soup

I'm making tonight's recipe in honor of Chinese New Year, which starts tomorrow.  Coincidentally, I spent the day in a cleaning-out frenzy in my apartment, and only later read that one Chinese New Year tradition is to purge your house of the old, and make space for the new.  I used frozen corn here in the depths of winter, but you could try with fresh corn if making this soup in the spring or summer.  But for tonight - happy year of the Rabbit!

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and diced fresh ginger
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 Gardein Tuscan chicken breasts (without sauce)
  • 3 cups water
  • 42 ounces vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 3 cups frozen yellow corn kernels
  • 4 bags ginseng tea*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, ginger, and garlic; saute for 2 minutes.  Chop the Gardein chicken into 1-inch pieces and add the chicken to the pan; saute for 4 minutes.

2. Add the water and broth; bring to a boil.  Add the corn and tea bags; return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.   Sprinkle with the salt and white pepper at the end of cooking.

To round out your Chinese New Year meal, add some sticky rice and simple garlic broccoli on the side: heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 8 cups broccoli florets and 3 minced garlic cloves; saute for 4 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup vegan chicken broth and 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce; reduce heat, cover, and cook for a final 5 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.  I also enjoyed leftovers of the soup for lunch the next day with tamari-flavored rice cakes on the side. 

*Ginseng tea was much harder to find than I anticipated, and required trips to several grocery stores.  Another option - although perhaps equally hard to find - is to use 2 sliced ginseng roots in place of the tea bags.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 188 

Tasting Notes:
I felt like I was out at a Chinese restaurant the instant I lifted my spoon to my mouth.  The soup felt midway between the broth of an egg drop soup and a hot steaming cup of the tea that always accompanies a Chinese dinner.  I can't say I've had ginseng enough to distinguish it precisely on my taste buds, but I absolutely loved the hints of ginger and the silkiness of the broth.


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