Recipe: Chicken in Chinese Master Sauce

Mar 26th, 2017 | By | Category: blog, cook something, meat and poultry
Chicken in Chinese Master Sauce, courtesy of The Splendid Table, American Public Media

Chicken in Chinese Master Sauce, courtesy of The Splendid Table, American Public Media

During my visit with Lynne Rosetto Kasper about her most recent cookbook, The Splendid Table®’s How to Eat Weekends, which she wrote with her friend and producer Sally Swift, I asked what recipe in the book could I prepare that would really thrill my guests. And she told me about Chicken in Chinese Master Sauce.

Ingredients

Master Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce (Kikkoman works well here)
  • 1/2 cup dark or double soy (I used the easy-to-find Koon Chun brand)
  • 1 cup Shao-Hsing (aka Shao Xing) Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
  • 1/2 packed cup brown sugar
  • 2-inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and the whole piece crushed
  • 4 whole scallions, coarse chopped
  • 2 star anise, bruised
  • about 1 to 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3-1/2 to 4 pound chicken (organic, if possible)

Garnish:

Instructions

1. In a 4-quart saucepan with good heat distribution (which should hold the chicken snugly with just enough room to turn it over), combine the soy sauces, wine, sugar, ginger, first quantity of scallions, star anise, and 1 cup of water.

2. Bring to a boil. Using a long fork or cooking chopsticks in its cavity, carefully, so as not to splash yourself, slip the breast-up chicken into the liquid. Tuck it down into the pot so the liquid almost covers the bird. Add more water if needed. Baste the liquid over the breast 3 or 4 times. Adjust the heat so a bubble surfaces every 4 or 5 seconds. In so many words, have it at the barest simmer.

3. Cover the pot (don’t worry if the lid doesn’t seal) and cook 20 minutes. Put the pot on a work surface and turn over the chicken from top to bottom using the fork or chopsticks in its cavity. Try not to break the skin. Cook at the barest bubble another 10 to 15 minutes, or until an instant-reading thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 160ºF.

4. Take the pot off the heat and let cool, covered, for 20 minutes, or until thigh reads 170ºF. Refrigerate the chicken in its sauce 12 to 24 hours. Baste and turn every few hours to have the chicken color evenly. The chicken keeps about 3 days, but if left in the sauce that long, it overwhelms the meat. So remove the chicken from the sauce after 24 hours, strain the sauce, and refrigerate the two separately.

5. Serve the chicken close to room temperature. Warm gently in the sauce to just heat through. Cut it into quarters, then slice each breast crossways into 4 or 5 pieces. Separate the legs and thighs. Assemble the pieces, skin side up on a platter. Sprinkle with the sliced scallions. Spoon about a 1/3 cup of defatted master sauce over the meat. Accompany with rice and optional sauces below.

Saving the Master Sauce: Strain the sauce, chill, and remove the fat. Then freeze. Cook any meat, whole eggs, or poultry in the sauce, replenishing ingredients as needed. Fish should be cooked in a separate master sauce.

From The Splendid Table®’s How to Eat Weekends by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter, 2011), © copyright 2011 American Public Media.

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