A wonderfully simple and healthy way to enjoy chicken that will also fill your kitchen with exotic aromas, this spice-braised chicken is a real crowd pleaser. It gets better with time, so it’s worthwhile preparing it in advance or making a big batch to ensure leftovers.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
907 g bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (whatever kind you please) or (680 g) boneless chicken breast
24-mm piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
79 ml Chinese rice wine (in a pinch you could use dry sherry or sake)
118 ml low-sodium canned chicken broth, or water 1 tablespoon runny honey
1 star anise
60 ml light or low-sodium soy sauce (trust us you really want to use low-sodium soy sauce here)
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh clementine or orange juice, if desired
2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
To make the Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.
To make the Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken on your stovetop, heat the oil in a large saucepan. If desired, remove the skin from the chicken. Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down, being careful not to crowd the pieces. (You may need to work in batches.) Cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and season lightly with salt.Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan. Add the ginger, garlic, rice wine, stock or water, honey, star anise, and soy sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the clementine juice and the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Then turn the chicken pieces and continue to simmer gently until cooked through, about 5 minutes more, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate.Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. Take a sip of the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Return the liquid to a simmer and reduce slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. (Be mindful that reducing it too much could cause the sauce to seem quite salty.) Remove and discard the star anise. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat it in the sauce. Sprinkle with the scallions.
SLOW COOKER VARIATION
- We invariably rely on skinless chicken for the slow-cooker rendition of this ginger-infused recipe—after all, nobody likes flabby chicken skin, do they? Place the chicken in the slow cooker and combine the remaining ingredients, except for the scallions, in a bowl or a large measuring cup and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer the chicken to a platter. If a thicker sauce is desired, slowly stir a little cornstarch slurry into the sauce in the stock pot, place it on high and let it simmer until thickened to the desired consistency (to make a cornstarch slurry, we tend to use 1 tablespoon cornstarch stirred into 1/4 cup cold water). Return the chicken to the sauce just until warmed through, then transfer the whole shebang back to the platter and sprinkle with the scallions.
[Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so.)