Chairman Mao's Red Chicken
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.Advertisement
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.
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.
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.
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.