This homey, tasty chicken soup is good on any day of the year. It's also easy to adjust for any palate.
For a clear, unmuddled soup, omit the spinach. You can also enjoy it with or without a good splash of kochukaru (Korean chili pepper powder). Don't like shiitake? I think the shiitake 'shrooms give it a deep and finished flavor, but you can easily replace them for the kind you like or what you already have in your kitchen.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1.5 cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup spinach leaves (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- kochukaru (to taste)
- Bring the chicken stock to a boil and then add leeks, chicken, mushrooms and spinach (if using).
- Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Carefully break eggs into the soup, one at a time.
- Try not to disturb eggs as you continue to add.
- At this point, you can add 1-2 tsp of kochukaru or omit it until later.
- Lower heat and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Carefully transfer soup into soup bowls (one egg into each).
- Serve with kochukaru on the side for extra spice.
Shiitake Mushrooms and Health
Shiitake mushrooms have long been used in Eastern medicine (since at least 100 AD in China) and have been eaten in Asia as food for thousands of years. Recent studies have shown shiitake mushrooms to have anti-viral and immunity-boosting properties.
From the American Cancer Society:
"Shiitake mushrooms are promoted to fight the development and progression of cancer and AIDS by boosting the body's immune system. These mushrooms are also said to help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and to help treat infections such as hepatitis by producing interferon, a group of natural proteins that stops viruses from multiplying. Promoters claim that eating both the cap and stem of the mushroom may be helpful, but they do not say how much must be eaten to have an effect. They say the strength and effects of the mushroom depend on how it is prepared and consumed.
Promoters claim that shiitake mushrooms contain several compounds with health benefits. A compound called lentinan is believed to stop or slow tumor growth. Another component, activated hexose-containing compound (also known as 1,3-beta glucan), is also said to reduce tumor activity and lessen the side effects of cancer treatment. The mushrooms also contain the compound eritadenine, which is thought to lower cholesterol by blocking the way cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream. These claims are currently being studied."
"As a part of a healthy diet, shiitake mushrooms are low in calories, fat- free and nutrient rich. They provide vitamins A, B, B12, C and D. Shiitake mushrooms are also packed with minerals and electrolytes iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc niacin and selenium. Shiitake mushrooms are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein, containing greater amounts of essential amino acids lysine, arginine, methionine and phenylalanine, than found in meat.
In addition to vitamins A and C antioxidative activity, shiitake mushrooms contain the highest levels of L-ergothioneine, a unique antioxidant not produced by the body that can only be obtained through the diet."
Sources: American Cancer Society, Livestrong.com, World's Healthiest Foods (whfoods.com)