|Red-Cooked Chicken: Uninspired Plating, Inspired Flavors|
|Red Cooking Basics|
Into the slow cooker went the three huge chicken leg quarters, 6-8 star anise pods, half a cinnamon stick, a chunk of rock sugar, a handful of whole garlic cloves, several slabs of ginger, a couple whole green onions, the peel of a tangerine, and the stems from a bunch of cilantro. To this I added about half a cup, maybe three-fourths, of soy sauce, several tablespoons of Chinkiang black vinegar, and water to just reach the top of the chicken.
To finish the dish, I put some rice on to cook, removed the chicken to a plate, and strained and defatted the braising liquid which I then reduced to the point where if I reduced it any further, it would be too salty. At the very end when the sauce and rice were done, I blanched some Chinese broccoli and we sat down to dig in.
This dish clearly belongs in the pantheon of great dishes invented by humankind. It is that good. And that simple: try it yourself. If you've never had it before as Ann had not, it will be a revelation of the best kind.