The Be Well Recipe: Hot and Sour Chicken Soup with Turnips and Shiitake Mushrooms

Photo by Betsy Nelson

The best beginning to a soulful soup is making fresh broth. Making the broth with chicken thighs serves a dual purpose — you gently poach the meat that will be used in the soup while creating a rich base for your soup.

Turnips, cruciferous veggies that lend an earthy note to the soup, are packed with nutrients, fiber, and cancer-fighting properties. If you are lucky enough to find turnips with their green tops intact, feel free to sub them for the collard greens in this recipe.

Lastly, a note about kuzu, a root-based thickener used here instead of cornstarch. Be sure to track it down — it has been used by Eastern healers for centuries and is known for its ability to help balance natural sugars, soothe digestive disturbances, and calm the nerves.

Hot and Sour Chicken Soup with Turnips and Shiitake Mushrooms
Serves: Serves 4
  • 2-3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 cups cold water
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 T. minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium or 2 small turnips, washed and cubed, about 1 ½ cups
  • 6 shiitake mushroom, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped collard greens, tough stem removed
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. kuzu (found in the Asian section of most natural grocery stores)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  1. Place chicken thighs, lemongrass, and peppercorns in a 2-quart stockpot and cover with the cold water. Bring to a simmer, and keep simmering over low temperature, not allowing it to boil, for about 1 ½ hours. Remove chicken and allow to cool.
  2. Strain the lemongrass and peppercorns out of the broth and return to a simmer. Season the broth with turmeric, ground pepper, salt, ginger, and garlic. Add the turnips and simmer until they are almost tender; then add the mushrooms.
  3. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and pull the meat off the bone. Shred the meat and add to the simmering soup. Stir in the collard greens and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the apple cider vinegar and kuzu until the kuzu is dissolved, add to the soup, and simmer until slightly thickened. Serve the soup topped with chopped green onions.

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