My wife was a little under the weather and not really up for eating anything substantial so I put together a warming soup full of rich ingredients designed to be nourishing but still relatively light. Good meat stock made with chicken and pork bones forms the base, while the special flavor comes from my Chinese Preserved Pork Belly, tiny Chinese Dried Scallops (Conpoy), plus Ginger and Goji Berry for added goodness…
- 3 – 4 cups good rich Stock;
- 1/4lb. Preserved Pork Belly;
- ¼ cup tiny dried Scallop (Conpoy);
- 1 small Shanghai Bok Choy;
- 1 Dried Shiitake Mushroom;
- 2 tbsp. Goji Berry;
- ¼ cup Shaoxing Wine.
If you can’t find very tiny conpoy then substitute a larger variety and pre-soak then shred them beforehand. In that event, save the soaking liquid and add it to the broth later.
Slice the pork belly thinly and chop the Bok Choy, keeping the white and green parts separate.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over moderate heat and sauté the ginger until it is just turning golden. Add the pork belly and the white part of the bok choy until the latter is soft and the fat in the pork belly is opaque.
Add the conpoy, plus the stock, Shaoxing Wine, and the whole dried mushroom and simmer over moderate heat until the conpoy and pork belly are tender (about 45 minutes or so).
At this point, remove the ginger slices, slice the mushroom and return it back to the pot with the Goji Berry and the green parts of the Bok Choy. Continue to simmer gently until the berries are plump and the bok choy leaves are crisp tender but still nicely green. Serve immediately or cool quickly and reheat for later service.
Well… this soup may have been light in terms of solid ingredients but the unctuous richness of it certainly made up for that. In truth, the quality of the stock really made a huge difference, but even if you try and reproduce this basic recipe with a plain canned chicken stock, the richness of the dried ingredients will still really shine. On the night I cooked this (in December), a blizzard was raging and that made it all the more enjoyable but, even so, at any time, this is a great soup…