Tea-Smoked Peking Chicken
This whole chicken is simmered in an aromatic soy-based broth, then smoked. A mixture of rice, tea leaves and brown sugar is used to smoke this traditional chicken dish giving it a distinctly unique flavor. —May Der, South Pasadena, California
Total TimePrep: 20 min. + chilling Cook: 70 minutes + standing
- 3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 1 whole broiler/fryer chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 3 slices fresh gingerroot
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 1/2 cup loose black tea leaves
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Place peppercorns in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle; grind until coarsely ground. Place peppercorns and salt in a dry small skillet; toast over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.
- Pat chicken dry; rub peppercorn mixture over the outside and inside of chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- In a stockpot, combine the water, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick and five-spice powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Add chicken. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads 180°, turning chicken once. Remove chicken; discard cooking liquid.
- Line the bottom of a clean stockpot with a double thickness of foil. Sprinkle the rice, tea leaves and brown sugar over foil; place a wire rack over rice mixture. Place chicken on rack breast side up.
- Cook over low heat until rice mixture begins to smoke. Cover pot tightly with foil; place lid on top. Smoke for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is golden brown.
- Remove chicken; brush with sesame oil. Let stand 15 minutes before carving. Chicken may also be served cold. To serve cold, cool chicken slightly; cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Editor's Note: Look for Sichuan or Szechuan peppercorns in Asian markets or visit penzeys.com.