Chairman Mao's Red Chicken | Midwest Living

Chairman Mao's Red Chicken

Chairman Mao's Red Chicken

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  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Hands On 20 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr

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Minnesota-based TV star Andrew Zimmern's boyhood fascination with Chinese cuisine manifests itself in this hands-off braise. Whole spices perfume the meat (and your kitchen), but they don't dominate: The dish tastes emphatically, gloriously of chicken. For anyone raised on takeout, it's a revelation. Serve with white rice.


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 chicken legs*
  • 6 chicken thighs*
  • 1/4 cup sliced, peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 small dried whole red chiles
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 2 3-inch-long cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup sake**
  • 1/2 cup mirin**
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (preferably an all-natural, premium variety)
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 14 green onions (12 chopped in 1-inch lengths, 2 thinly sliced)


  1. In a 6- to 8-quart wide pot, over medium high heat add the oil. Brown the chicken, in two batches. Reserving to a plate.
  2. When all the chicken is browned, add the chicken back to the pot along with all the other ingredients except the thinly sliced scallions for garnish. Bring to a simmer and cover. Lower heat to maintain simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and raise heat a smidge and cook, stirring only occasionally until the sauce is a dark mahogany glaze around the chicken. Don't burn or scorch the sauce, but it should be syrupy and glazy. Spill contents of the pot onto a platter, sprinkle with the sliced scallions and pass plenty of Chinese rice at the table, spooning lots of sauce over every portion.


  • **Shopping tip Sake and mirin are two varieties of Japanese rice wine. Mirin is sweeter and slightly less alcoholic. Find them at well-stocked supermarkets or Asian groceries. If you can't find mirin, substitute an extra 1/4 cup sake and 3 tablespoons sugar.


  • **Shopping tip Andrew Zimmern prefers to use pasture-raised chicken in his cooking. If you prepare this recipe using conventionally raised chicken, you may want to skim some fat from the surface of the sauce. And you may need to simmer longer to reduce the sauce. (Conventionally raised chicken has higher fat and water content.) If the sauce isn't reducing fast enough, remove the chicken with tongs and crank up the heat to help it along, then return the chicken to the pan when the sauce seems syrupy.

Nutrition Facts

(Chairman Mao's Red Chicken)

Servings Per Recipe 6, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0, Folate (µg) 33, Potassium (mg) 493, sodium (mg) 1495, iron (mg) 2, calcium (mg) 69, Trans fatty acid (g) 0, sugar (g) 26, fiber (g) 1, cal. (kcal) 620, vit. A (IU) 555, pro. (g) 34, chol. (mg) 157, Thiamin (mg) 0, Fat, total (g) 33, vit. C (mg) 7, carb. (g) 36, Niacin (mg) 8, sat. fat (g) 9, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 8, Monounsaturated fat (g) 14, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0

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