Braised Chicken with Tangerine and Star Anise (Star Anise)

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4

In this recipe, star anise imparts a spicy licorice flavor and aroma, with sweet hints of cinnamon and cloves. Tangerine zest and juice add a sweet-tart element, cutting through the richness of the chicken thighs. Be sure to remove and discard the whole star anise before serving the dish.


  • 2 tangerines 
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 3 1/4 lb. total
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili-garlic sauce, such as Sriracha
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch


Finely grate the zest from the tangerines, then squeeze 1/2 cup juice. Pull off and discard the skin from the chicken thighs. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil until very hot but not smoking. Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides, about 9 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pot and set the pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and half of the tangerine zest and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tangerine juice, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce and star anise and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Return the chicken to the pot, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife near the bone, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to warmed platter. Remove and discard the star anise. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 Tbs. water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the liquid in the pot and cook just until the sauce thickens slightly, about 30 seconds.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining tangerine zest and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).

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