Tom Douglas Five-Spice Roast Chicken

This may very well be my favorite roasted chicken.   Make this one for company–they will love you!  The first time I ate Five-Spice Roast Chicken was at my son’s apartment about a year ago.  It was moist and very flavorful.   I was so impressed that I wanted to make it myself.

Prepare the five-spice paste a day ahead and allow your chicken to sit in the fridge overnight.  It’s worth the wait.

Five -Spice Roast Chicken

Five-Spice Paste

3 star anise

1/2 dried chipotle chile

1/2 cinnamon stick broken into 1/2″ pieces

2 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp whole cloves

1/4 tsp hulled cardamom seeds

1 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil

For the Chicken

1 whole chicken 3-31/2 lbs

1/4 orange cut into wedges, plus extra orange wedges for garnish

3 star anise

Kosher salt

2 Tbsp unsalted butter or bacon fat, melted

To make the 5 spice paste:

put star anise, chile, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and cardamom in a small pan over medium heat and toast for a few minutes until aromatic, shaking the pan.  Let cool, then grind the toasted pieces in a clean coffee or spice grinder/mill.  Transfer the ground spices to a small bowl.   Add the ginger, garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Gradually add the oil, stirring with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste.

Rinse chicken and dry completely with paper towels.  With your hands, rub the paste all over the skin of the chicken.  Set the chicken on a rack over a baking pan and place it uncovered in the fridge overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the quarter orange and star anise in the cavity of the chicken.  Season with Kosher salt and place on a roasting pan.  Line the pan with aluminum foil because paste will drip and burn.  Using a bulb baster rather than a brush so as not to disturb the spice crust, baste the chicken with the melted butter or the bacon fat, and put in oven to roast..  Baste chicken with fat collecting at bottom every 20 minutes.  The chicken is done when an instant read thermometer inserted  in the thickest part of the thigh reads 175 degrees, and the juices run clear about 1 1/4 hours.  Remove chicken from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.

Cut up chicken into 10 pieces, pile on a platter and garnish with extra orange wedges.

I served this with Tom Douglas’

Baby Bok Choy w/ Garlic Oil

1/2 orange cut into wedges

4 unpeeled fresh ginger coins

1 1/2 lbs baby bok choy sliced in half, or left whole if small

3 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil

3 cloves garlic, thinky sliced

1 Tbsp soy sauce

Set up steamer, such as a large saucepan or wok with a Chinese bamboo steamer set over it.  Put 2 cups water, the orange, and the ginger in the bottom of the steamer basket, cover, and steam until tender, 6-8 minutes.

A minute or two before the bok choy is tender, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic and toast until light golden brown.  Remove from heat.

Arrange the bok choy on a platter, cut sides up.  Drizzle first with the hot garlic oil, then with the soy sauce.

Aromatic Steamed Rice

2 cups Japanese short-grain rice
1 stalk lemongrass
2 cups cold water
3 1/8-inch-thick coins of unpeeled fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a knife
3 star anise
Zest from 1 scrubbed orange (preferably large, wide strips cut with a vegetable peeler)

  • Place raw rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain well.
  • Smash the lemongrass stalk with the back of a knife; slice it thinly crosswise. Wrap it in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie in a bundle with kitchen twine.
  • In a medium pot, combine the rice and water. Add the cheesecloth bundle to the pot, scatter the ginger, star anise, and zest over the top and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer gently until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and other aromatics, fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.


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