Seeing Red

This was a good use for boneless chicken and some basic pantry ingredients. It is a riff off of traditional Chinese red cooking, which takes its name—and its color—from gentle braising in soy sauce and brown sugar; afterwards, the braising liquid is reduced almost to a syrup that gets tossed back together with the meat. This recipe calls for red wine in place of the traditional shaoxing, which helps to underline the color. The recipe calls for thigh meat, but I used breasts because that was what I had, and it worked out fine; I also used shallot in place of the green onion. The sauce, once reduced, packs a big punch; it was a little salty for our taste due to the soy, so I think we might tone that down a touch next time. I served my chicken with rice and some mildly Asian roasted carrots.

Double Red-Cooked Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tsp five-spice powder
2 1/2 C dry red wine
6 large scallions—white and light green parts cut into 2-inch lengths, dark green tops finely chopped
1/2 C soy sauce
1/3 C light brown sugar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 T finely grated fresh ginger
1 dried red chile (or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
1 T sesame seeds

In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the five-spice powder.

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine the wine with the scallion pieces, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and chile and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the chicken. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and scallions to a plate.

Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup and glossy, about 12 minutes. Return the chicken and scallions to the saucepan and stir to coat with the sauce. Transfer to a bowl. Garnish with the chopped scallion tops and sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Source: Food and Wine.

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