Bamboo mushrooms—an earthy Chinese delicacy that grows at the root of bamboo stalks—are most enjoyed in Sichuan’s simple chicken soup. Harvested at their mature stage, with the lacy veil attached, dried and packaged bamboo mushrooms are commonly available at Chinese markets. Once cooked, they become soft and gelatinous, absorbing the flavors of the broth.
- Large Pot
- Large Bowl
- Small Plate
Yield: serves 6** Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes**
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 whole chicken, cut through the bone into 2- to 3-inch pieces
- One 1-inch piece fresh ginger (½ oz.), peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 green Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 oz. (about 4 cups) dried bamboo mushrooms
- 1 large fresh bamboo shoot, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- Thinly sliced scallions, for serving
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned all over, 7–8 minutes. Add 8 cups cold water, the ginger, and the peppercorns. Bring the mixture to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain a strong simmer. Continue simmering, skimming off and discarding any impurities that float to the surface, until the chicken is cooked through and the stock is flavorful, 45–50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bamboo mushrooms. In a large bowl, add the dried mushrooms and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Position a small plate on top to keep the mushrooms submerged, and let soak until the mushrooms are soft, pliable, and hydrated, about 10 minutes.
- Drain the mushrooms, discarding the soaking liquid, then cut them into 2-inch pieces.
- Once the soup is done simmering, add the bamboo mushrooms and bamboo shoot, and continue cooking just until the bamboo pieces are slightly softened (everything should retain a bit of crunchiness), 10–15 minutes more. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Divide the soup among 6 individual bowls, sprinkle each with some of the scallions, and serve hot.
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