Monday, November 07, 2011

Something new for me: Five-Spice Roast Chicken

Five-Spice Roast Chicken
Quick & Easy Chinese Copyright 2008

1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 pound chicken legs and thighs or one whole chicken cut-up

In a large bowl combine the soy sauce, vegetable oil, sherry, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, sugar and salt, and stir to mix everything well and dissolve the sugar and salt.

Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat them evenly. Cover and set aside for 1 hour or as long as overnight.

To cook the chicken, heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the chicken pieces on the rack of a roasting pan, or simply place them on a baking sheet with sides to catch the juices. Cook 25 minutes and them remove from the oven and turn each piece over.

Continue cooking until the chicken is wonderfully and evenly brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes total.

Transfer to a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Five-spice powder was one of the few spices/spice mixtures that I did not already have in my cupboard. I saw it recently at a good price in a discount store but I passed it up at first. Then I started noticing several recipes that called for it, recipes that sounded good to me, if I turned out to like the taste of five-spice powder. I decided to go back and get the five-spice powder since at $1.49 for a bottle of the Spice Islands brand that wasn't anywhere near expiring, I didn't have much to lose.

I only made a half-batch of this so I only used 1/2 teaspoon of the powder in this recipe. It added a certain something without being overpowering. The chicken was really infused with the flavor of the marinade since I let it sit overnight (in the refrigerator of course).  It was enjoyable, not a real 'wow!', but it was a good introduction to five-spice powder.

Five-spice powder varies but Spice Islands brand contains cinnamon, anise, fennel, black pepper and cloves.  I was fearful of the cinnamon - I don't usually care for it in savory dishes (chili with cinnamon was one of the worst recipes I've made).   I liked this with the chicken and I'm going to try more recipes using it but I'm going to make sure to use it sparingly.

I have several Chinese cookbooks. Cooking Chinese food at home is really not that hard, especially now when you can easily get just about any ingredient you need from one source or another.  I really like the selection of recipes in this book (many classics, a few not-so-mundane recipes, all very doable) but the layout is a bit funky - I don't like the way ingredient lists are often carried on to the next page.  They could have chosen a layout that prevented this in all but the longest recipes.  That's a minor nitpick though. I would definitely recommend this as a starter Chinese cookbook.

Question of the Day:  Five-spice powder - have you tried it?  Do you like it?  What recipes have you used it in? (Okay, maybe that should have been Questions of the Day.)


terry@domestic dilettante said...

I was also cautious about the flavor of five-spice, but I tried it with a Dinner A'Fare item quite a while back and was pleasantly surprised. Theirs was five spice chicken with a cilantro cream sauce, and the flavors blended well. Now that I think about it, I will probably try to re-create it on my own this time. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!

Annie Jones said...

I have tried it, and have some in the cabinet, but it's not a blend I'm absolutely crazy about and not one I use often.

Alisha said...

Hmmm I have tried it and used it but for the life of me I can't remember in what. (Guess that means it wasn't something to make again ...)

Thanks for posting this, though - I'm always looking for thing to do with thighs and legs since they're on sale so much.