Chinese Chicken Soup

Recipe by Katie Lew of CookitFresh

Serves 6

Many people tout chicken soup as the definitive cure for the common cold. While those claims may not be easy to verify, there is no doubt that chicken soup can soothe sore throats and provide much needed comfort. This chicken and rice soup relies on the flavors of garlic, sesame and Szechuan pepper for a unique twist on a classic comfort food. If Szechuan peppercorns aren’t readily available, try adding sriracha sauce, fresh bird’s eye chilies, or a drizzle of chili oil for some sinus-clearing heat. This recipe includes instructions for making the broth from scratch, but this is also delicious made with canned chicken broth and pre-cooked chicken.

Ingredients

For the broth:

1 whole raw chicken, cut into pieces, or 2 chicken breasts and 2 chicken thighs (skin-on and bones in)

2 carrots scrubbed and cut into large chunks

4 scallions

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

5 peppercorns

6 cups cold water

1 teaspoon kosher salt


For the soup:

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

4 cups bok choy leaves, thinly sliced

2 cups shredded chicken (if making broth from scratch, you can use the chicken from the broth)

2 cups cooked brown rice

½ teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed

4 scallions or ¼ cup chives, thinly sliced


1.      To make the broth: Place the chicken pieces in a large pot or dutch oven along with the carrots, scallions, ginger, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover with cups water and add the salt. Cover and bring to a simmer over low heat. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and shred the chicken off the bones, reserving the skin and bones. Refrigerate the chicken until needed and return skin and bones to the broth. Continue to simmer, covered,  another 2-3 hours, or until broth is flavorful. Pour broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-proof container and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight. Skim off the congealed fat from the top of the broth before using.

2.      For the soup: Place 6 cups of chicken broth plus 2 cups of water in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add the carrots, salt, soy sauce and sesame oil and bring to a simmer over medium-low. Continue to simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the bok choy and chicken and simmer another 5 minutes, until bok choy is wilted and tender. Stir in the rice and check broth for seasoning, adding extra salt as needed.

To serve:  Ladle a serving of soup into a soup bowl and top with a sprinkling of crushed Szechuan peppercorns and sliced scallions or chives.