Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Roasted Hoisin Sesame Chicken



What's up, y'all? I roasted a whole chicken this week. Roast chicken is a staple in my life because it's economical, versatile, and comforting. There have been a number of roast chickens on the blog before. The skin of a whole roasted chicken, in my opinion, should only be one of two things: crispy or sticky. Normally when I roast a chicken I'll keep it simple like a woody herb with salt and pepper. That method always produces a chicken with crispy, crackling skin. For sticky skin, you need to glaze with a sauce, preferably one that caramelizes well. I'm going to share a sticky chicken technique that turned out really good! My roast chickens use a French technique so I normally use Euro-centric flavours. I thought it would be fun to make a Chinese inspired roast chicken. 

Preheat your oven to 375 F/190 C. 

Wash your chicken with cold water and then dry it very well with paper towel (every nook, cranny and inside the cavity too). Season the outside and the cavity with salt and pepper. Why did I do that if I'm just going to slather it with sauce? I don't know, maybe force of habit. Definitely season the cavity though. 

The aromatics that I used to stuff the chicken with were ginger, garlic, 5 spice (a blend of Szechuan pepper, cinnamon, fennel, star anise and cloves) and just a bit of toasted sesame seed oil. I trussed the chicken with some twine and set it breast-down on a wire rack over a baking sheet. I brushed a thin glaze of hoisin sauce all over and then flipped the bird breast-up to glaze the other side. Then I placed the chicken in the middle of the oven and let it cook for thirty minutes.

When I make a crispy-skin roast chicken I flip it at this point so the bottom of the chicken can get crispy as well. For even caramelization, we're going to do the same thing here. Remove the chicken and brush another thin coat of the hoisin all over before flipping it breast side down to glaze the rest. Place it back in the oven and roast for another thirty minutes.


Remove the chicken from the oven for one last glaze and flip. At this point, I added some sesame seeds all over the bird for extra flavour and texture. So brush one last thin layer of hoisin and sprinkle all over with the seeds. Then carefully turn the chicken back breast-side up for another glaze and sprinkle of seeds. Place back in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the liquids from the chicken run clear. 

Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it. It will be hard because the smells coming off this thing will have you drooling but stay strong. Your patience will be rewarded by impossibly moist and juicy chicken. If you carve it too soon, all the goodness will run right out and be lost forever. 

I already have a plain raw chicken carcass in my freezer now. I'm going to make a batch of standard chicken stock with that. Since the carcass from this chicken has been roasted with the ginger, garlic and 5-spice I'm thinking of making an Asian broth with it and continue to build the flavour profile in that direction. It will make for a great future post I'm sure. 

I definitely recommend trying this. You can pair it with anything you like. I steamed some jasmine rice and stirred in some peas, blanched green beans, chopped scallion and a scrambled egg. This made for a tasty supper with plenty left over for other meals this week. 



PS: If you're not familiar, hoisin is a dark, thick reduction of sugar, fermented soybean, garlic, salt, vinegar and spices. It's very popular around the world and goes great with most common animal proteins as well as vegetables.

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