I love braising, especially now the colder weather is here.
I also love this time of year when we start putting the fire on in the kitchen and making lots of comforting, rich braises and soups. This combination is divine with the pungent Asian flavors. All you need is plain boiled rice.
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, plus more if needed
2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp chicken stock
8 bone-in chicken thighs
3 tbsp peanut oil, divided use
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 dried small red chile
3 short strips orange zest removed with a vegetable peeler
1 whole star anise
2 tsp cornstarch
Heat the oven to 325 F
In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar and 1/4 cup stock or water. Stir to mix and set aside.
Season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large ovenproof skillet or other heavy-lidded braising pot over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add half of the chicken pieces, skin side down, and sear without disturbing, until the skin is crisp and bronzed, about 7 minutes. Turn the pieces carefully to avoid tearing the skin and brown the other side, about 7 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a large plate to catch the juices. Cook the remaining chicken the same way.
While the chicken is browning, coarsely chop the scallions separating the white and green parts. Set them aside.
Discard all the fat from the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the remaining tbsp of oil, then add the white part of the scallions, garlic, ginger and chile. Stir and cook just until you can smell the garlic and ginger, about 30 seconds. Pour in the reserved soy mixture and stir to combine. Add the orange zest and star anise.
Set the chicken thighs in the pan and add any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover the pan with parchment paper, pressing down so the paper nearly touches the chicken and the edges extend about an inch over the sides of the pan. Cover with a secure lid and place the pan in the lower part of the oven.
After 15 minutes, turn the chicken pieces with tongs and check to be sure there’s at least 1/4 inch of liquid in the pan. If not, add a few tablespoons of stock. Replace the parchment and lid and return the pan to the oven until the chicken is fork tender and pulling away from the bone, about 20 more minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a serving platter without crowding the pieces and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Remove the star anise and orange peel from the pan. Set the pan over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Skin off any surface fat.Add the scallion greens.
Put the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the remaining tbsp of stock and whisk briefly to combine and smooth out any lumps. Pour the mixture into the simmering liquid, stirring to incorporate it evenly.
The liquid will immediately thicken to a glossy sauce the consistency of maple syrup. Pour any juices the chicken has released into the sauce and simmer for another minute.
taste for soy sauce and vinegar. The sauce should be salty,but not too much. If it’s too salty another splash of vinegar will balance this out
Spoon the sauce over the chicken and stir