Chicken and black fungus broth

Serves 4-6

I always keep a selection of Asian mushrooms in my larder, as it's so handy to be able to dig them out and soak them for soups such as this one. You can also buy most of the Asian mushrooms fresh these days; but remember that the good thing about the dried variety is you can use the soaking liquor in the broth when making soups.

For the broth

2 free-range chicken legs
1.5ltrs chicken stock
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, washed and roughly chopped
40-50g root ginger, roughly chopped
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
4tbsp light soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
The stalks from the coriander

To serve

30-40g dried weight of black fungus, soaked overnight in cold water
6 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
A handful of coriander leaves, torn

Put the chicken legs into a saucepan with all of the other broth ingredients and the liquor from the soaked mushrooms, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour and strain through a fine meshed sieve, reserving the chicken legs and discarding the other bits. To serve, shred the black fungus, skim the stock of any fat and if necessary, add the mushrooms and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove the meat from the chicken legs and cut into even-sized chunks. Put the chicken, spring onions, black fungus and coriander into warmed soup bowls and pour over the hot stock.

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