The Good News Alternative healers use star anise to fight cold and flu symptoms. Melissa Rubel Jacobson combines the licorice-scented spice with cinnamon and ginger—both stomach soothers—to flavor a restorative chicken-noodle soup.
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1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 star anise pods
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cinnamon stick
One 3-inch strip of orange zest
One 4-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger—1 inch cut into fine matchsticks, the rest thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
Four 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 ounces mung bean noodles (see Note)
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
How to Make It
In a mortar, crush the Sichuan peppercorns until fine but not powdery. Add the salt and lightly crush to combine, leaving it coarse in texture.
In a large saucepan, combine the stock with the star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, orange zest and the sliced ginger. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over moderately low heat until fragrant and flavorful, about 20 minutes. Strain the broth into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth hot.
In a large saucepan of water, poach the chicken at a very low simmer at low heat just until it is white throughout, about 18 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, pat dry and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken crosswise on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, soak the noodles in hot water until pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the noodles to the hot broth. Let stand until heated through, about 1 minute.
Ladle the noodles, mushrooms and broth into shallow bowls. Top with the sliced chicken breasts, scallions and ginger matchsticks. Sprinkle the chicken with the Sichuan pepper-salt and serve.
Mung bean noodles are also known as cellophane or bean thread noodles. They are available at Asian markets.
One Serving 277 cal, 5 gm fat, 1.4 gm sat fat, 36 gm carb, 1 gm fiber.
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