Szechuan Chicken Noodle Soup

After my older daughter’s recent emergency surgery and subsequent lack of appetite, I was desperate to see her eat again.

Against all my usual instincts, I even offered her something special from the vending machine on the hospital ward. Of course once her recovery was underway her appetite returned, slowly, and after a couple of days feeding her crumbs of dry crackers from my hand she demanded her favorite, chicken noodle soup, from the hospital menu. 

Both during her stay in the hospital and for a short time after her discharge, an organized group of neighbors delivered meals daily to our front porch. This brought us great comfort and nourishment during an uncertain time, not to mention the delicious food. Chicken noodle soup featured in the rotation and Lily was delighted, again!

A version of chicken noodle soup features in many cuisines around the world, and our Sichuan adaptation is highly prized in our house. It has all the requisite components – chicken, broth, vegetables and noodles but with a five spice flavor profile. With lemony overtones, the Sichuan pepper gives the soup a unique taste.

As an alternative to the five spice in the recipe, our Sichuan Whole Spice Infusion is available for purchase online.

April Note: Meg and I are excited to support Have Dreams during Autism Awareness month. We will donate 10 percent of every sale from our online store, and Peapod will generously donate $2.00 from the sale of each of our slow cooking meal kits. 

Sichuan Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep Time: 10m , Cook Time: LOW for 6-7 hours, HIGH for 3-3 1/2 hours, Servings 4-6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  2. 2 tsp / 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  3. 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, whole
  4. 2 tsp Chinese five spice blend *see below for our Sichuan Slow Cooker Spice Blend
  5. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  6. 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  7. 4 cups chicken broth plus 1 1/4 cups water
  8. 4 oz / 1 sheet Chinese wheat noodles
  9. 2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
  10. scallions
  11. chili sauce
Instructions
  1. combine the sesame oil, garlic, chicken breast, five spice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth & water in the slow cooker
  2. cover and cook on LOW: 6-7 hours or HIGH: 3 1/2 hours
  3. at the end of the cook time, shred the chicken breast and return to the slow cooker with the noodles & cabbage
  4. stir and replace the lid for 8 minutes until the noodles are cooked
Notes
  1. top with sliced scallions and chili sauce
  2. pair with a Vienna style lager, a ginger Kombucha or green tea
  3. *purchase our Sichuan Slow Cooker Spice Blend online and substitute for the five spice blend
  4. https://www.thezenofslowcooking.com/collections/spice-blends/products/sichuan-blend
the zen of slow cooking http://www.blog.thezenofslowcooking.com/
 Zen Moment

“Soup is cuisine’s kindest course.  It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”
-Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

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