Ginger & Star Anise Chicken

  The other night the Mr. had a work meeting he was going to be at late.  That meant I was on my own for dinner.  Uh oh.  I had already planned the menu and done the ingredient shopping without realizing he wasn’t going to be here (apparently it’s a good idea to occasionally listen when your spouse talks) and so I had all the stuff for a brand new recipe and was missing my chef.

(Don’t worry, this has a happy ending, the house is still standing).
  I thought about having leftovers for dinner.  I thought about making one of the recipes I’m already comfortable with (almost entirely pasta dishes).  I thought about ordering a pizza….but I finally came to the conclusion that if I did that, the recipe had won.  I couldn’t have that.
If I can make this, you can too
  I’ve been trying to find more vegetarian recipes that we like lately.  We’ve been having a series of painfully bad failures.  Recipes from magazines that photograph well, but nobody actually eats…or at least, shouldn’t.
  The Mr. pointed me to seriouseats.com.  I was intimidated.  This is a really extensive site by people who know their stuff when it comes to food.  I needn’t have worried.  Newbies like me can click the “recipes” tab and then browse by category without fear of stumbling upon some scary article on technique…or, you know, how to do more than boil water.
  Once we’d tried a few of their vegetarian recipes successfully I started branching out into the other categories.  This was one of the recipes I found.
  Here’s what you need:
I browned the chicken skin before this pic…got a little ahead of myself

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces  (thighs and legs)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh clementine or orange juice (optional)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  •   The spatter guard isn’t something the original recipe mentions, but it is NOT optional. Unless you like oil burns.  Then go for it.  The oil spits like crazy while you’re browning the chicken.  G kept making the baby sign for “rain” at me while it was cooking, because it was so noisy it sounded like a downpour outside.
      The recipe calls for scallions, but we had chives out in the garden, so I subbed those in.  The garlic is some of what we grew this summer.
      I apologize I didn’t take pics of each of the steps, but there was a high volume of traffic in my kitchen while I was cooking, and I didn’t want to get run down by a car while attempting to photograph chicken.
    “GET OUTTA THE ROAD, LADY!”
      Once your chicken is browned, you create your sauce and then simmer your chicken in it until it is cooked through (double check that the inside is at least 165 degrees with a meat thermometer if you’re not sure if it’s done).  It should take between 5 and 10 minutes.  This is a great time to play with any insane drivers who may be tearing through your kitchen.
      After the chicken is cooked enough to keep everybody from dying of food poisoning, reduce your sauce.
    By “reduce” of course, I mean “boil the bejesus out of it”
      Once your sauce is nice and thick, put your chicken back in to glaze it.
    I think this is how you glaze…nobody who cooks was here to correct me.
      Take your chicken out of the pan and sprinkle it with cut scallions chives and serve.  The recipe says to serve with white rice, but I’m a rebel, so I served mine with salad and berries.  That’s right recipe, you don’t own me.
      No fires, delicious dinner and another recipe under my belt.  I win.
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