Braised Chicken with Tangerine and Star Anise
Here, vibrant tangerines, which are at their best in the winter, add a tart-sweet and exotic element to a star anise–infused braising liquid. Their fragrant juice and zest perk up the deep flavors in the dish and cut through the richness of the tender braised chicken thighs.
- 2 tangerines
- 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, about 3 1/4 lb. (1.5 kg) total
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. peanut oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. chile-garlic sauce, such as sriracha
- 2 to 3 star anise
- 2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbs. water
Finely grate the zest from the tangerines, then squeeze 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) juice. Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches, sear the chicken, turning once or twice, until browned on both sides, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 Tbs. fat in the pot and return the pot to 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, chile-garlic sauce and star anise and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the chicken to the pot, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cornstarch mixture 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 One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012)