It's heading into winter down here in Australia and I have the sniffles. Just the right time to whip out this revitalizing soup. There is no direct evidence that it will cure your cold, but hell, it sure makes you feel better and I hate to admit, but it also does wonders for a hangover.

There are two steps in its production. First you need to make a chicken stock. It is important to use the recipe I provide below, as it is inspired by Asian technique and has none of the fully flavoured aromatics found in a western chicken stock; such as carrot, celery and bay. These would overwhelm the subtleties of the lemongrass.

The second step is simmering the skimmed stock with the lemongrass and other herbs for just a few minutes so their fresh vitality is captured, not stewed like tea. OK let's go.

Ingredients

Method

First make the stock. Add the washed chicken bones, green onions, ginger, peppercorns and Shaoxing to a stock pot with 4 litres (1 gallon) of cold water. Bring slowly to the boil, skim off the foam that will rise to the top (this helps with clarity) and reduce the heat to a simmer. At this stage it is important to find the optimal temperature. You need to extract the goodness from the chicken and aromatics, without boiling the gelatin and fat back into the liquid. A good rolling simmer is your target. Leave at this heat for 1 hour, topping up with fresh water and skimming occasionally. Strain the stock and discard the bones. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Can be prepared to this stage up to 3 days in advance.

The next day, skim off all the fat and pass through a fine strainer into a pot, Bring to the simmer and add the remaining 5 ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes and strain into warmed bowls. Eat with gusto.

All sorts of ingredients can be added to this soup. Try rice noodles, bok choy, wontons or prawns (shrimp).

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