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Slow-Cooker Sichuan Chicken with Scallions & Baby Bok Choy

Sichuan peppercorns give this brothy slow-cooker chicken dish a distinctive lemony, mouth-numbing flavor. Unrelated to peppercorns, they're the dried berries of the prickly ash tree. Look for them in specialty markets and online. If you've never had them before, try one first and add more or less to taste. Serve with sesame baby bok choy (which takes just a few minutes to prep) and Chinese noodles for an easy, healthy dinner that'll get you out of your same-old-chicken-dish rut.
Nutrition Profile
  • Dairy-Free
  • Egg Free
  • Nut-Free
  • Healthy Aging
  • Healthy Immunity
  • Low Carbohydrate

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed 
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari 
  • ⅓ cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry 
  • 3 dried red chiles, stemmed 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 
  • 1½ teaspoons grated garlic 
  • 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 2 whole star anise (see Tip) 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 1½ teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, divided 
  • 1⅓ cups water 
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths 
  • Crushed red pepper to taste 
Sesame Baby Bok Choy 
  • 6 heads baby bok choy (about 1 pound) 
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Preparation
Prep - 20 m
Ready In - 8 h 20 m
  1. Combine chicken, soy sauce (or tamari), Shaoxing (or sherry), chiles, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger and sugar in a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker. Tie star anise, cinnamon sticks and 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns in cheesecloth or a muslin spice bag and add to the slow cooker. Add water and cover. Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours. 
  2. To prepare bok choy: About 15 minutes before serving, trim bok choy and separate leaves. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add the bok choy; steam until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Top with sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt.
  3. To finish the chicken: Remove and discard the spice bag. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken. Discard the skin and bones. Pour the broth into a fat separator or skim the fat, if desired. Stir in the remaining ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns and let stand for 5 minutes. 
  4. Divide the chicken and broth among 6 serving bowls and top with scallions and crushed red pepper. Serve with the bok choy.
  • Tip: Named for its star-shaped pods that come from a small evergreen tree native to China, star anise lends a licoricelike flavor to many Asian dishes. Look for it with bulk spices in natural-foods stores or at Asian markets.
  • To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Equipment: 4- to 7-qt. slow cooker, cheesecloth

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Nutrition Information
  • Serving Size: ½ cup chicken with ⅓ cup broth & ½ cup bok choy
  • Per Serving: 235 calories; 12 g fat(3 g sat); 2 g fiber; 5 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 86 mcg folate; 77 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 4,686 IU vitamin A; 47 mg vitamin C; 145 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 743 mg sodium; 521 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (94% daily value), Vitamin C (78% dv), Folate (22% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 3 medium-fat protein, ½ fat, ½ vegetable

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