Chicken is an item that appears on my menu at least once a week. Maybe twice. Maybe three times if I have sent the Southern husband out to the grill to make buttermilk rosemary grilled chicken, which we grill in giant batches because it is addictively good. The point is that I am forever on the hunt for new and interesting ways to cook a chicken, and this sweet, spicy, tangy caramel version is my new fave…and doesn’t involve sending people out into the dark cold snowy night to grill it. Here’s what it DOES involve!
It starts off all innocently as a basic pan-roasted chicken recipe, with bone-in piece of chicken seared golden brown in a little oil. But once the chicken is browned, here’s where the fun begins. A little water and some brown sugar get together in that same skillet until it thickens up into a sweet caramel sauce. And just when things are getting very sweet, you add some vinegar, some fresh ginger, some soy sauce and some garlic. It turns into a fair fight between sweet and the salty, and that concoction is what your chicken is going to simmer in until it is tender and sticky and perfect.
I served it on a bed of rice with some chopped scallions on top for both color and a little kick, and it was just the right amount of different and delicious.
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2½ pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, cut in quarters
- Coarse salt
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 slices ¼”-thick slices peeled ginger
- 1 cup chicken broth (I like the Pacific and Imagine varieties)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Cooked white rice
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and cook until golden brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add garlic to pot and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove to the plate with the chicken.
- Add ½ cup water to pot and stir, scraping up the browned bits. Add brown sugar and stir until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar and stir again.
- , Add ginger, broth, and soy sauce, then add chicken, skin side up, and garlic. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20–25 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
- Bring caramel sauce to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot and turn it with tongs until it is coated with the sauce.
- Place hot cooked rice on each plate, top with a chicken piece or two, scatter scallions on top and serve!