Supreme Broth

1 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 pound pork rib bones
1 1/2-pound slice Virginia ham or slab bacon
1 2-inch knob fresh ginger, smashed and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions (green and white parts), halved crosswise
garlic cloves, smashed
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 tablespoons goji berries
10 red dates
6 whole dried shiitake mushrooms
Shaoxing rice wine, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
Chopped scallions (green and white parts), for garnish (optional)

Place the chicken (including head and feet if you have them), pork bones, and ham in a large stockpot, and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and then cook just long enough to rinse the meats of scum and fat, about 10 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the meats and the pot.

Return the rinsed meats and bones to the clean pot, and add water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring the water to a boil, and then add the ginger, scallions, garlic, onion, goji berries, red dates, and mushrooms. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 2 hours, occasionally skimming any fat off the surface, to produce a finished stock. Strain the stock with a fine-mesh sieve.

Add the Shaoxing rice wine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve the soup as part of a meal or with rice and pickles. The soup will also benefit from a garnish of chopped cilantro and scallions.

Store any remaining soup in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for about a month.

This recipe works with just about any chicken, but see if you can get your hands on a Longgang heritage chicken, available at most Chinese groceries and renowned for its texture and sumptuous taste. It will produce a