- SERVINGS: 4
In China, this dish is usually made with black chicken, a special breed. The effect of chicken, no matter how it is prepared, is warming. this is also true of the dates added in this traditional preparation. Here, the chicken is steamed in its own juices for about 4 hours, until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender. Boxthorn seeds—small, red mini-oval berries—add a lovely red color.
- One 3 1/2-pound free-range chicken—visible fat removed, gizzard and neck reserved
- 1/4 cup salt
- 8 dates
- 2 tablespoons boxthorn seeds (optional)
- Soy sauce, for dipping
- Set a cake rack in a large stockpot, add 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Rub the chicken all over with the salt, then rinse well. Put the chicken, breast side up, in a large heatproof bowl. Add the gizzard, neck, dates and boxthorn seeds. Set a heatproof plate on top of the bowl to seal it, and carefully set the bowl on the rack in the pot. Cover the stockpot and boil over high heat until the chicken is very tender, about 4 hours; replenish the stockpot as necessary with boiling water.
- Carefully remove the bowl with the chicken from the stockpot. Using a fork, pull the chicken from the bones and remove the skin; place in 4 soup bowls. Pour the juices on top along with the dates. Serve with small bowls of soy sauce, for dipping.