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Triple-Sesame Ginger Roast Chicken

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Serves four.

  If you like sesame noodles, you'll love this roast chicken.

For the marinade:
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup sesame tahini (mix well before measuring)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 large bunch scallions (white and light green parts, reserve 1 scallion for the garnish below), cut into 1-inch pieces
For the chicken:
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Scant tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 scallion, sliced very thinly at an extreme angle, for garnish 
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Make the marinade:

Crush the garlic cloves and sprinkle with a little salt. Mince the garlic finely into a paste; you should have 1-1/2 to 2 Tbs. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, tahini, soy sauce, sherry, honey, lemon juice, sesame oil, and Tabasco, and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Marinate the chicken:

Wash and dry the chicken pieces thoroughly. Press down on the chicken breasts with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly (allowing rib cartilage to pop away or break in half). With a sharp knife, poke three or four slits in both sides of each piece of chicken to help the marinade penetrate. Put the chicken in a large nonreactive bowl and toss with the kosher salt. Add the garlic paste to the bowl and toss to coat the chicken. Add the marinade to the bowl and toss to coat, using your hands to distribute evenly. Add the scallions and press on the chicken to be sure the marinade has coated and surrounded all the pieces. Wrap the bowl well with plastic and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

Roast the chicken:

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and pour the chicken and marinade (scraping the bowl) into one 10x15-inch or two 7x11-inch Pyrex baking dishes. Adjust the chicken so it’s skin side up and the pieces are evenly spaced. Tuck the marinated scallions under and around the chicken pieces. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with a pinch of salt. Let the chicken sit for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour to warm up a bit so it will cook more evenly. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F.

Put the chicken in the oven to roast. As it cooks, the marinade will bubble and begin to reduce. After 30 minutes, baste occasionally with the pan juices to help brown the skin and keep the chicken moist. The chicken is done when it turns deep brown and the pan juices have reduced (the sides of the pan will be very dark brown and look almost burned, and a paring knife will slide easily into a thigh), about 1 hour. The pan juices may separate, meaning the fat will be floating on top of the juices, which will be very thick.

Make the pan sauce:
Tip:
Make the pan sauce while the pan is still hot; if you get delayed, use hot water to make the sauce, or put the pan back in the oven briefly to warm it.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a cutting board and tent with foil. Transfer the roasted scallions to a small bowl and reserve. Hold one end of the pan with a potholder and gently tilt the pan to let the juices run into one corner. With a large, shallow spoon, spoon off as much fat as possible but leave any savory juices and pan drippings behind (they may look clumpy). Add 2 Tbs. water to the pan (or 1 Tbs. to each of the two pans) and use a wooden spoon to scrape off enough of the baked-on pan drippings from the sides and bottom of the pan to form a slightly thickened, deeply colored, rich-looking sauce (you won’t need to scrape the whole pan). Taste the sauce—if it’s too intense, add a little more water; if it isn’t flavorful enough, keep scraping and stirring.

Cut each chicken breast in half by centering a large chef’s knife over it and then pushing down and slicing at the same time (the knife will cut right through the cartilage). Serve a thigh and half of a breast per portion, with a few spoonfuls of sauce, the reserved cooked scallions, and a sprinkling of the raw sliced scallions. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serving Suggestions

Short-grain white or brown rice

Drink Suggestions

Choose a fruity wine with a hint of sweetness, such as a domestic Chenin Blanc or an off-dry Riesling.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 740; Fat (g): 41; Fat Calories (kcal): 370; Saturated Fat (g): 10; Protein (g): 53; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): 38; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 12; Sodium (mg): 2080; Cholesterol (mg): 170; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

One of the beautiful things about this recipe is that you can marinate the chicken the night before and then fling it in the oven when you get home-- ideal for after work. The other beautiful thing is that it's delicious-- the sesame, ginger, and garlic make a yummy sauce that is not too sweet, not too salty. One of my go-to recipes for weeknight cooking.

Good blend of flavors-easy to prepare. The most time consuming part of the recipe was assembling the marinade, and of course, the marinating. I used chicken thighs, and it worked out well.

This is an easy, Asian-style baked chicken recipe. Tastes great. Good to serve with rice to soak up all the delicious gravy.

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