Stewing Hen Tea Tree Mushroom Soup
April 22, 2023  Print
Stewing hens are great for making soup and they typically cost less than chickens that are raised for meat. Be warned, the meat can be tougher than your traditional meat chicken. But this doesn’t affect the taste of the chicken at all.
This Stewing Hen Tea Tree Mushroom Soup (茶树菇老母鸡煲烫) uses an instant pot and is so wonderfully easy to make. It takes a little over an hour but most of that time is spent sitting and waiting for the instant pot to cook the chicken. If you have time, you can spend a little longer than 40 minutes of instant pot time the recipe calls for to get more flavorful results (both in terms of the chicken flavor and in terms of the tea tree mushroom flavor). But if you’re pressed for time, you can also lower the instant pot time to just 20 minutes to make this soup. The 40 minutes that the recipe calls for is a good middle ground in my opinion. If you end up trying different times, please let me know how it turns out!
This soup combines the wonderful chicken flavors from an old stewing hen with the subtle flavor of tea tree mushrooms. You don’t need much salt for it to taste great. My family finds the soup very soothing. And, both my children love the soup.
The chicken, unsurprisingly, is a bit tough. I recommend making a dipping sauce for eating the chicken. You can use the one in the recipe below, or simply mix some balsalmic vinegar with some Lao Gan Ma chili sauce (“Fried Chili in Oil”) for a quick and flavorful dipping sauce.
If you like this recipe, I’m sure you’ll like my other stewing hen soup recipe. And of course, if you like warm, soothing soups in general, be sure to check out the various pork bone soups that I frequently serve to my family.
Tool: Instant Pot (I use the Instant Pot DUO60 v3)
Gluten Free, Low Carb
Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 1 stewing hen (between 1.5 lb to 2.5 lb) 1
- 1 small bunch dried tea tea mushrooms (茶树菇) 2
- 1 1-inch long piece of ginger (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Rinse the dried tea tree mushrooms. Cut off the ends of the stems and separate the mushrooms. Immerse the tea tree mushrooms in water for 30 minutes.
- While waiting for the tea tree mushrooms to soften, prepare the stewing hen. Wash the stewing hen thoroughly. Use kitchen scissors or a knife to remove the rear and the two tips of the wings. Pluck or remove any residual feathers on the skin. Stewing hens are usually quite lean so you don’t need to remove the chicken fat (the yellow soft fatty part). Peel and chop the ginger into slices. Put the stewing hen along with the ginger in the instant pot. Fill the water to the 1/2 mark.
- Press the “Sauté” bottom and wait for the water to boil. When water starts boiling, use a skimmer to remove any foam floating on the top of the water. Then press the “off” button on the Instant Pot.
- Add the softened tea tree mushrooms to the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Press the “Soup/Broth” bottom and change the timer to 40 minutes.3 Once the Instant Pot is done cooking, it will switch to the “Keep Warm” mode automatically. You can use a utensil to manually switch the valve to the “Venting” position to let out the steam. (WARNING: Never use your hand to turn the valve as the steam will be hot. ALWAYS follow all safety instructions that come with your particular Instant Pot.) If you are not pressed for time, wait 15-20 minutes until the Instant Pot naturally releases pressure. No matter the method, be sure to wait until the little floater next to the valve drops down before opening the lid.
- Add salt to taste. Pour the soup and the tea tree mushrooms into several bowls of equal portions. Tear the chicken into pieces and eat it either with the soup or by itself.
- Optional dipping sauce for the chicken: 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chili or chili crisps.
- You can get stewing hen from pretty much any Asian grocery store. I got mine from the Asian chain store called 99 Ranch supermarket. I also saw it in my local Asian grocery store. You can also buy these from Weee! online. Some local butchers sell them as well. Make sure it’s stewing hen or old chicken (老母鸡) and not a young chicken or meat chicken. If your stewing hen is more than 2.5 lb (or 1.1 kg), chop it into pieces and only use the appropriate amount.
- Tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇) has a stronger flavor than shiitake mushrooms.
- With an Instant Pot, 40 minutes is more of a middle ground in my opinion. You can make this soup in as little as 20 minutes but the chicken flavor will be much lighter. If you have time, you can set the timer to 1 hour, which will in result in soup having a deeper flavor in terms of both the chicken and the tea tree mushrooms.
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