RECIPE: Chicken Broth with Goji, Ginger, + Pearl Barley


I wasn’t planning on doing a recipe but I stumbled across this most delicious concoction and wanted to share it because it was sooooo good. Spicy, sweet, warm, and full of root energies. Roots have the energy of digging deep, and of storing essence, which is what our bodies are doing in the cold weather, and why it is so great to eat them in the winter months. The goji berries add a little sweetness to each mouthful, which brings out the other flavors more as well. SO YUM.

Fresh ginger (sheng jiang in Pin Yin) is added to almost all Chinese herbal prescriptions, partly because it helps the other herbs work harmoniously together, and partly because it is a fantastic antibacterial and antiviral herb which protects and warms your stomach (fresh ginger tea is an excellent preventative when you feel like you’re about to get a cold, and will help clear up a bout of food poisoning – pour boiling water over a pile of grated fresh ginger, cover to preserve the volatile oils, and leave for 30 mins before guzzling).

I’ve been sneaking goji (the wolfberry, gŏu qĭ zĭ in Pin Yin) into my tea every day. In Chinese medicine it’s a blood builder, and has the rare talent of being able to tonify jing (one of the Three Treasures, which you can read more about here, the short version of which is No Jing = No Juice), which only a few in the pharmacopoeia can match. It also tonifies Lung yin, which is a resource that can get easily depleted in the cold winter months (or if you are a tobacco or marijuana smoker), and has been shown to improve immune function. You don’t need to eat that many to get the benefits – a handful a day is more than enough (unless you are pregnant. No goji berries for pregnant women, please). I throw them in my tea jar in the morning, but discovered that they are also incredibly delicious in savory soup. Hence the surprise delight of:

chicken soup with goji and pearl barley.

roast chicken carcass, onion, garlic, thai red chili, celery, a selection of roots (any or all of celeriac, carrot, ginger, fresh turmeric, sunchokes), broccoli, pearl barley, goji berries (please note! goji berries are not for pregnant women).

Start by making the broth.
In a large pot or crock pot bring 2-3L of water to a boil, and add:

Carcass of one chicken (roasted)
half bunch of celery (leave the leaves on if they have em)
a few carrots (with tops if you got em)
half a celeriac root (save the other half for the soup)
three fat-thumb-sized hunks of ginger (with skin)
two or three inches of turmeric root (with skin)
an onion (leave the skin on)
the long fat stem of the broccoli
at least three cloves of garlic (skins on)
two thai red chilis (whole)
salt, pepper, a bay leaf
…and simmer for 4-6 hours.

STRAIN out the bones and spent veggies and discard
Put your glorious delicious nourishing beautiful broth back into the pot
ADD 1 bunch mixed of fresh sage/rosemary/parsley/thyme
ADD a handful of pearl barley (pre-soaked if you don’t want it to soak up the broth)
ADD a handful cube-chopped of each: sunchokes, celeriac root, and yam, and a few tufts of broccoli
and let it simmer for another 40 mins

Throw in a handful of dried goji berries! Oh the sweetness!
And EAT. Whilst making loud moans.

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