Dinner Tonight: Star Anise and Ginger Chicken

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

It's hard to imagine this recipe could be anything but delicious upon reading the ingredient list. Ginger, garlic, honey, soy sauce, scallions—each one is delicious on its own, and they blend together beautifully in this recipe from Home Cooked Comforts via Leite's Culinaria. The addition of star anise, with its subtle licorice influence, gives the dish that special something to set it apart.

Living up to the cookbook's name, this is satisfying comfort food, something to tuck into as cooler weather moves in. The key to success is to give the chicken an excellent, crisp-skinned sear at the beginning, then reduce the sauce until it glazes the chicken. The crisp, sticky-sweet effect is crucial. And once everything is reduced, the flavor is even more dramatic, with the taste of a long, slow braise in a simple, quick meal.

About the author: Blake Royer is a food writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Chicago; he has been writing for Serious Eats since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter @blakeroyer

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Dinner Tonight: Star Anise and Ginger Chicken

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:45 minutes
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (such as thighs and legs)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine (or use sherry or sake)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 cup light or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh clementine or orange juice, optional
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimming. Add the chicken pieces skin-side down and cook undisturbed until they pull away easily from the pan and the skin is golden, 5-8 minutes. Turn the pieces with tongs and cook for a minute longer, just to lightly brown the other side. Remove with tongs to a plate.

  2. 2

    Pour off all but a tablespoon of the oil and add the ginger, garlic, rice wine, stock or water, honey, star anise, and soy sauce to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the clementine or orange juice, and put the chicken back into the skillet skin-side up (it should be about half-submerged with the crisp skin still exposed). Simmer until the chicken is just cooked though, 5-10 minutes more.

  3. 3

    Remove the chicken to a plate and turn the heat to high. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce until almost syrupy.

  4. 4

    Return the chicken to the pan to glaze in the sauce. Sprinkle with scallions and serve with white rice.

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