July 23, 2013
Orange Hoisin Chicken Bake
I remember my first taste of Hoisin Sauce like it was yesterday......
My Mum was taking a Chinese Microwave cooking class- this was back in the early eighties when microwaves were the New Big Thing and ruled the kitchen- and she showed me a jar with a funny illegible label, full of sticky red goop. Standing in the corner near the pantry, she opened the lid and I was hit with a pungent beany smell. A spoon was offered and as I licked it this amazing sensation spread over my tongue...
It was a revelation
Tasting the sweet, earthy paste was one of the defining moments of my culinary career. Such a punch of flavour and so unlike anything else I'd tried before- it's stuck with me forever
Maybe that's why I love this particular meal. It's a great family dinner, but it's easy to dress up for visitors as well. Sweetness from the orange, lovely warming spices, and the punch of hoisin all cooked in the one pot, it's definitely a recipe for a win indeed- yummo!
I so wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I clipped it from the Australian Good Taste magazine May 2012. It went into the file as a simple recipe for littlej to practice her cooking- I certainly never expected it to be one of my favourite dishes right now instead
HoiSin Chicken Bake
6 Chicken thighs cutlets or chicken thighs- skin on
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup gf Hoisin Sauce (I like Changs)
2 tabs gf soy sauce
2 tabs brown sugar
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1Orange- 4 strips of peel, and the segments
2 Star Anise
gf Cornflour for thickening if needed
Sesame seeds for garnish
* Some of the photos in this recipe are terrible. I try to use natural light, but this time of year it's dark in my kitchen by 4pm. The flash just makes it shiny and worse- sorry!*
Brown the chicken in a small amount of oil until the skin is nice and crispy
Drain off the oil, then in the same pot place the stock, hoisin, spices, orange rind and sugar and heat until the sugar and hoisin melts into the liquid
Place the chicken back into the pan and spoon some of the sauce over the top. Cover and bake for about an hour and fifteen minutes at 150*
Take the lid off the chicken, then let it crisp up a little and get a nice colour by baking for another fifteen minutes or so
If the sauce still seems a little thin, stir through a little cornflour slurry until it's juust right and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Stir though the orange segments and sprinkle the chicken pieces with sesame seeds for a bit of extra flavour and texture
For my family dinner I served up the chicken with a big wok full of crunchy stir fried veggies with a touch of garlic and chilli, and some perfect steamed rice. For guests, I would steam some bok choy and baby broccolini or other asian style greens- just to look a bit more elegant, and of course still a big pot of gorgeous steamed rice
You could use chicken thigh fillets for this dish if you like, but cooking on the bone adds so much flavour and helps hold the meat together during the long cooking process. Thigh pieces would work as well, but I think they're messy and not as nice to eat
So very yummy, slightly sweet but still OK. The punch from the hoisin is definitely there, though tempered a little in the braising process instead of being heavily caramelised or lacquered on. Make sure you spoon on plenty of the sauce for the rice to soak up and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy as much as I do!
So Dear Readers, is there one food memory that sticks with you or that has changed your culinary thinking?