Any soup based on a proper chicken stock, made with free-range bones (feet included!) and vegies, is wonderfully homey and nourishing, whether it's a Jewish chicken noodle soup, Vietnamese pho, Greek avgolemono or this Chinese chicken and sweet corn soup. We have fond memories of this soup from childhood (oh, the Golden Fish restaurant in Rose Bay! How did they carve those carrot phoenixes?), where it would precede a 70s banquet of honey king prawns, beef and black bean and sweet and sour pork, but, looking back, it had a viscous texture we probably wouldn't love now, probably from the use of cornflour to thicken the soup and not just egg.
This version is lighter and fresher, with a warm hit of ginger. It's actually a re-working of a Kylie Kwong recipe - thanks, Kylie - but we use bone-in chicken marylands rather than boneless breasts, to further enrich the broth and to stand up better to reheating. You're welcome to use breast but you're better off cooking it once only in that case. We also puree half the corn kernels to thicken the soup slightly but minus the glugginess of cornflour.
Chicken and sweet corn soup
Makes: 2 litres - enough for 4/5
Make ahead: The whole soup may be made ahead and kept, covered in the fridge for up to three days or the freezer for up to three months.
1 litre good chicken stock (homemade or low/no salt)
1 x 4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely plus 2 slices ginger
4 spring onions, white parts sliced, green parts reserved
2 x 300g free-range chicken maryland (or half a small chicken)
2 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
half a tablespoon neutral-tasting oil
4 tablespoons shaoxing wine
400g corn kernels (fresh or frozen is fine - tinned not so much)
2 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free if preferred)
1 egg, beaten
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to the boil, with the slices of ginger and spring onion tops. Lower the heat to a simmer, submerge the chicken in the stock and simmer very gently for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and tender. Strain, reserving the stock and the chicken.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and tear the meat into bite-sized pieces.
In the same saucepan, heat some oil over a low heat and cook the ginger and garlic with a pinch of salt until fragrant. Splash in the shaoxing wine and bring to the boil to reduce by half then add the stock and the corn. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the corn is tender.
With a stick blender, blitz the soup till it's a consistency that pleases you, with some whole kernels and some pureed. Return the chicken to the soup, add the soy and taste for seasoning - you may need a little more salt.
Stir though the beaten egg to form ribbons and serve, sprinkled with the sliced spring onions.