Chicken with Tangerines & Star Anise

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Here, fresh tangerines (at their best in winter) add a tart-sweet element to a star anise–infused braising liquid for chicken. The fragrant ingredients perk up the deep flavors in the dish and cut through the richness of tender braised chicken thighs. If you like, sauté tangerine wedges in butter for a pretty garnish.

Ingredients

  • 2 tangerines
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in, chicken thighs (about lb/1.6 kg)
  • Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼-inch (6-mm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Steamed rice for serving

Method

Finely grate zest from tangerines, then squeeze ½ cup tangerine juice. Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

In Dutch oven or other heavy pot with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Working in batches, add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until browned on both sides, about 9 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and return pot to medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3–4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and half of tangerine zest and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, tangerine juice, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, and star anise and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from pot bottom. Return chicken thighs to pot, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced with tip of a sharp knife near bone, about 25 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a warmed platter. Remove and discard star anise. Bring liquid in pot to boil over medium-high heat. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Stir cornstarch mixture into liquid in pot and cook just until sauce thickens slightly, about 30 seconds.

Pour sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining tangerine zest and serve right away with rice.