Tea & Soy Sauce Braised Chicken

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

When efficiency dictates your cooking choices, creating rather than following recipes becomes the order of the day.

It's not because I'm not educated or inspired by other people's recipes - I find that reading both good and bad recipes helps me refine my food ideas. But it's more that my budget as well as the shelves in our efficient little kitchen can get rather unwieldy when you start buying a bag of this seasoning, a jar of that spice, a bunch of these greens, or a pound of that fruit in order to conform to a recipe.

Tea & Soy Sauce Braised Chicken...

So I read recipes and other food articles and eat out from time to time, not only to keep current, but to inform my palate as to what flavors and textures pulled from existing supply might make delicious sense when pulled together.

I've mentioned before that I'm not much of a purist in the kitchen, but on the other hand, my ideas of fusion are fairly tame and more borne of adaptation and necessity than driven by a desire to push the culinary envelope, so to speak. When I think about it that way, I don't really do fusion as much as makedo-sion, but so long as the results taste good, it doesn't really matter to me what I call it.

This Tea & Soy Sauce Braised Chicken is a great dish for a weeknight meal or casual dinner party with its budget- and palate-friendly but subtly complex flavor profile; a short, easily subbed and somewhat fused ingredient list; and a beautiful presentation with little fuss.

Tea & Soy Sauce Braised Chicken
Serves 4
Time: About 60 minutes
Printable Version

This recipe goes from stovetop to oven, so you'll need either a large ovensafe pot or pan to go directly into the oven from the stove, or a pot/pan in which to sear and braise the chicken, and an oven safe dish in which to broil the skin.

You could go without the broiling step, and the dish will still be delicious, but you'll miss out on that beautifully crisped and slightly charred chicken skin that I love so well (too much, maybe).

- 2.5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons oil

- 1 inch segment of ginger root, sliced into 1/8" discs
- 1/2 large onion (brown or white), cut into 1/4" slices
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 to 3 Tablespoons non-flavored tea, depending on how strong the tea and how strong a tea flavor you like (I used oolong, but you could use green or black varieties)
- 1+1/4 cup water
- 1/8 cup Chinkiang or balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

- 1 green onion, julienned (or cut in thin strips) and julienned ginger for garnish (and when I say *garnish*, I always also mean *flavor* - I am unnaturally perturbed by the idea of irrelevant and non-integral garnish.)

1) Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper.

2) In a large pot/pan (this one's a 13" saute), bring the 2 Tablespoons of oil to medium high heat and brown and sear the chicken, about 3 minutes per side.

3) Put the chicken aside and saute the aromatics (onions, ginger, garlic) in the pan until the onions just begin to turn translucent.

4) Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of water, soy sauce and vinegar, making sure to scrape all the fond (the yummy bits left sticking to the pan after you sear the chicken) off the bottom, and add the tea.

5) Lower the heat to medium low, pour in the rest of the water, stir in the brown sugar, and add the chicken - SKIN SIDE DOWN - and simmer, partially covered (leaving about a half inch crack to allow steam to escape) for 20 minutes. 

Because heat builds and accumulates during the simmering process, it's a good idea to stir the chicken and check the temp once in a while to make sure it's not getting so hot that the chicken and/or sauce are burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.

6) After simmering for 20 minutes, flip the chicken over, SKIN SIDE UP (this is important, as you need to give the skin some time to dry out before going under the broiler) and simmer another 20 minutes. At this point, preheat the oven to BROIL.

7) Once the chicken has simmered 40 minutes total, take it off the stove top and place it under the broiler so that the tops of the chicken are 3 to 4 inches from the heat element so the skin can char and crisp, about 2 minutes (check after about a minute and a half, and every 10 seconds thereafter - stuff can go from perfectly charred and caramelized to burnt beyond recognition very quickly under the broiler).

8) Plate with the julienned green onions and ginger sprinkled on top.

I served this with steamed jasmine rice, green beans stir-fried in a sweet, caramelized oyster sauce with some garlic, and baby bok choy stir-fried with oyster sauce, garlic and just a hint of ginger. 

A friend said this bok choy is sexy.
Oddly, I'm inclined to agree...

The kids' favorite veg in the history of ever so far...

Mads loved the braising liquid so much she had a second helping of rice just to be able to have more of it.

Me, I ate an extra serving of rice just to be able to use it as a backdrop for that gloriously charred, crisp and slightly sweet and sticky chicken skin.

It doesn't happen as often as I might like, but I love it when I come up with something approachable enough for the kids to love and just different, sophisticated and nuanced enough for me and the Man to delight in.




Popular Posts