Halfway through the cooking time for this soy-braised chicken, as the aroma filled the kitchen and spilled out into the living room, I began to have regrets. I regretted finding only one package of chicken thighs in the freezer. I regretted not doubling the recipe. I regretted offering to share what I did make with my husband Ted. I want you to make this dish, without feeling the way I felt, so please, pull out your 4- or 5-quart slow cooker and double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Most everything you need is already in your well-stocked pantry. Serve the chicken warm, over rice, or wrap it in lettuce leaves or in a spring roll, with shredded lettuce and bean sprouts. Just be sure to cook enough chicken. You won't regret it.
Slow cooker soy-braised chicken
From the pantry, you'll need: chicken stock, dark soy sauce, shao hsing wine, garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger root, black pepper, star anise, cayenne or dried red chile pepper, arrowroot or cornstarch.
Adapted from Slow Cooker Comfort Food, this recipe serves 3-4 (with rice); can, and should, be multiplied.
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock (I use Swanson 99% fat-free)
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp shao hsing wine
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp minced ginger root
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 star anise (Use a broken one. It's fine.)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 small dried red chile pepper
1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
3 cups cooked rice, white or brown, for serving
Sliced scallions, for garnish
In a glass measuring cup, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, shao hsing wine, garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger root, orange zest, black pepper, star anise and cayenne. Mix well.
In a 3-quart slow cooker, place the chicken, and pour the sauce over. Cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours, or on low for 5 hours, until the chicken is falling-apart tender.
Remove the chicken from the cooker and strain the liquid into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil. Whisk in the arrowroot mixture, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the sauce thickens to a deep brown lacquer. Pour it over the chicken, and serve over rice, garnished with scallions.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad
Slow cooker hoisin chicken and slaw sandwiches
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Slow cooker Thai green curry chicken with broccoli and mushrooms
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Honey lemon chicken, from Cooking On the Side
Chicken adobo, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Soy glazed black pepper chicken, from Viet World Kitchen
Star anise and ginger chicken, from Leite's Culinaria
Tea eggs, from Chinese Grandma
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