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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Poacher's Chicken

Menu Note:

  • This recipe substitutes stevia for sugar but is otherwise unaltered from the version published in Florence Lin's Chinese Regional Cookbook, an invaluable but, sadly, out-of-print resource for many of our family's favorite Chinese dishes. 

The Ingredients (for 6 servings):
  • 4 whole star anise, or the equivalent
  • 1 dried or fresh tangerine peel
  •  6 g (or 1 tablespoon) of fennel seed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 70 g (or ¼ cup) of sea salt
  • stevia equivalent of 100 g (or ½ cup) of sugar
  • 120 ml (or ½ cup) of sherry
  • 1 whole chicken, weighing approximately 2¼ kg (or 5 lb)
  • sesame oil
  • 20 g (or 2½ tablespoons) of mustard powder, preferably an oriental brand
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro

    The Method:
    1. Place 2.4 l (or 10 cups) of water in a pot just large enough to hold a chicken comfortably.
    2. Add the star anise, tangerine peel, fennel see, cinnamon sticks, salt, stevia, and sherry to the water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
    3. Wash the chicken, remove excess fat, and introduce the chicken into the poaching liquid, breast down.
    4. Turn the heat down sufficiently to produce a slow and steady simmer.
    5. Simmer the chicken for 15 minutes breast down, 10 minutes breast up, and a further 10 minutes breast down.
    6. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and allow the chicken to cool down in the poaching liquid for 30 to 60 minutes.
    7. Remove the chicken from the pot, drain it well, and place it on a cutting board, reserving the poaching liquid for step 10.
    8. Drizzle sesame oil onto the chicken and use a basting brush to coat the whole chicken with a thin film of the oil.
    9. Place the mustard powder into a small bowl.
    10. Add 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of the poaching liquid and mix the mustard into a smooth, thick paste.
    11. Just before serving, cut the chicken into pieces and reassemble it on a serving platter, then strew cilantro over and around it. Accompany the platter with the prepared mustard.

    Shown here with a sesame vinaigrette salad and my recipe for cold soba, Asian flavor

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