Winter Melon Soup is healthy and satisfying. Good for what ails you, it is easy to make and a staple for Chinese cooks.
About 3/4 lb of pork butt or similar cut or pork bones
3 Chicken carcasses or chicken backs, necks, feet or a combination
1/4 of a medium sized winter melon - traditional chunks or cubed
3 medium pieces dried tangerine peel
6 dried jujube dates
6-8 dried shitake mushrooms
salt to taste
1 tablespoon dried goji berries
1 small piece virginia ham
Cover the pork, bones and other meat products with water and bring to a high boil. Boil for 1 minute to bring the scum to the surface. Drain and wash the pot out to remove all scum. Rinse and drain the meat and bones about 3 times until all the minute little piece are rinsed away. Using the cleaned pot, add the meat and cover with water.
Scrub the exterior of the winter melon to remove the white powdery coating and remove the inner seeds and membrane. The homestyle way to cooking the winter melon is to cut it into large square or triangular chunks about 3" across and add to the water and meat.
Rinse the dried tangerine peel, shitake mushrooms, jujube dates and gay gee and add to the soup mixture. Bring to a simmer and simmer covered for at least 2 hours.
Optional Cubed Method:
I cube the melon flesh to make it easier to eat, but I add the melon rind and remove it at the end of the cooking period. The rind seems to add additional flavor to the soup. For a more upscale presentation, when serving, slice the mushrooms into slivers and add additional slivers of cooked virginia ham to garnish the top.