Peking Chicken

Posted by Brette in Food

The person who introduced me to homemade Chinese food was the Frugal Gourmet. He was a crazy hippie/ordained minister who had a cooking show on PBS in the late 80s/early 90s when I was a newlywed. My husband and I used to watch him together and found him to be entertaining (“Hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick,” I can still hear him saying). It was around this time that I took some books out of the library about Asian food and began experimenting. My recipe for Peking Chicken was born.

This recipe is a family favorite. Mr. MarthaAndMe has been known to request it for his birthday dinner. It’s one of those dishes where everyone is literally licking the plate at the end of the meal. When my kids were younger I used to make some pancakes without scallion and they would gobble them up with chicken and sauce on them. Now I make them all with scallions. One word of warning. Make sure you can open your windows when you make this! It always smokes up my kitchen. Open your window before you start cooking this to get some ventilation going.

I adore this recipe. The chicken gets a magnificent color and has crunchy skin. The sauce is rich, dark, and thick. The pancakes are soft and absorb the sauce wonderfully. You taste the bite of ginger and garlic, the sweet darkness of the hoisin, the moist chicken, and the soul soothing pancakes.  It’s a perfect dish.

Peking Chicken

1 whole chicken

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp minced peeled ginger

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place chicken in sink and pour 1 quart boiling water over it, flipping chicken halfway through.

Place on rack and roast in oven for 50 minutes.

Mix honey, tamari, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar. Once the chicken has roasted for 50 minutes, brush with half the honey mixture and return to oven for 5 minutes. Brush again with the rest of the mix and return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Allow chicken to rest while you make the sauce. Add the chicken broth and hoisin to the chicken pan, first removing any blackened pieces, leaving all the brown pieces.  Bring to boiling, whisking, and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Serve sauce separately.

Scallion Pancakes

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups water

2 large whole green onions, finely sliced.

Mix ingredients together. Heat a skillet or large pan and add 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive are fine).  Use the batter to create pancakes, about 4 inches diameter each. Flip when the bottom is slightly brown. Repeat until all are made. Pancakes can be kept in a warm oven until they are all made.

To eat, put a pancake on your plate and top with a slice of chicken. Pour sauce over it and enjoy with a knife and fork.

This is also wickedly good cold! Note that I’ve tried to make this with half whole wheat flour and it just wasn’t the same – the pancakes were too chewy somehow.

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