Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Chinese Five-Spice Lacquered Chicken

I've been on a little bit of a braised chicken kick lately, so it was nice to get back in the roasting game with this delicious dish. Nothing is left to chance here. The chicken is stuffed with aromatics, glazed with a quick sauce, and then sprinkled with five-spice powder. It's basted during the roasting process to get the skin beautifully browned and crisp. Then the sucker is carved and dipped in another sauce. Sounds like overkill, but it all works for some reason.

I might have to thank the five-spice powder. I bought it about four months ago for absolutely no reason. I was at Penzey's Spices, and it smelled good. Something happens when I'm there, and I feel like I need spices that I've never used before. That day I just happened to need a blend of China cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger, and cloves. It went unused until now. Oh, I've occasionally reached over, opened the bottle, and smelled it, but that's really been the end of it.

I'm glad I put it to use here. Its gorgeous aroma does wonders for this dish. And it only looks like a bunch of ingredients. The chicken and the sauce have many of the same ingredients. This recipe, adapted from the Food Network Kitchens Cookbook, is actually rather simple to prepare.

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