Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Caramel Chicken

This recipe, from the latest issue of Bon Appétit, is how I discovered the amazing rice I wrote about yesterday. This dish is also very good: like the best homemade version of General Tso's Chicken you've ever had. Except not deep-fried.

Although not in the original recipe, I recommend spiking it a bit with a pinch of red chili pepper flakes if you want a little heat.

Caramel Chicken
Adapted from Bon Appétit

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I substituted this from the recipe's original bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
Salt, to taste
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
Pinch of red chili pepper flakes (optional, if you want the heat)
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Cooked white rice (for serving, see Bon Appetit's incredible rice recipe I discussed yesterday)

1. Heat oil in a large pot (such as an enamel-coated Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Pat chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, season with salt and, working in two batches, cook in the oil until golden brown and crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer partially cooked chicken to a plate (it will finish cooking later).

2. Add garlic to pot and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, less than 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the chicken. Remove excess fat from the pat.

3. Add 1/2 cup water to pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens and turns a deep amber color (Bon Appétit's recipe said this would take about 4 minutes, but it took me a lot longer--like 10 to 15. I recommend watching it carefully, since it could burn easily once it thickens).

4. Stir in the vinegar (it may sputter a bit) and continue stirring to dissolve any sugar the vinegar may re-crystallize. If using red chili pepper flakes, add those now. Stir in the ginger, broth and soy sauce.

5. Return chicken to the pot, increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently until the chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

6. Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot and stir to coat with the sauce. Serve chicken over cooked rice and topped with fresh chopped scallions.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this. Your description -- "like the best homemade version of General Tso's Chicken you've ever had" -- is no exaggeration.