I have a really hard time deciding what to cook for friends when they come over for dinner. I don’t want to be doing a lot of cooking that requires my attention so that I can actually enjoy having friends here. I don’t want to be perfecting a sauce, or cooking individual steaks, but I also want to make dishes with some unique flavors, something that shows I actually know what I’m doing in this here kitchen. I don’t want to make a lot of dishes, and I like to make something that can be put in the middle of the table and shared, family style.
This braised chicken checks all those boxes. You can marinade the chicken ahead of time, sear it off, and pop it in the oven before anyone even comes over. You can serve it in the dish that you cooked it in, and it will even stay warm on the table. This recipe yields a tender chicken breast (you could use bone-in or boneless), with a sticky, citrusy ginger sauce that is perfect spooned on top of the chicken served on a bed of rice with steamed veggies on the side.
- 1.5 Lbs chicken breast, pounded out into 1.5 inches thick breasts
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp honey
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1-2 Tbsp oil of choice
- 1/4 cup mandarin juice (about 3-4 mandarins)
- Marinate chicken in a large ziploc bag with the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin, red pepper flakes and honey. Let sit in fridge for minimum of one hour to overnight.
- When chicken is marinated, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a medium-large cast iron pan (see notes) over high heat until when you splash a little water in it it sizzles up. Add oil and let coat pan quickly.
- Remove chicken from marinade (reserving marinade) and place in hot cast iron. Let sear 2 minutes on each side (chicken will remove from the pan easily when its done on each side).
- After seared on both sides, add in reserved marinade and mandarin juice. Cover pan with lid, and set in oven for 15 mins.
- Turn the chicken after 15 mins and cook another 10-15 mins. There will be a lot of moisture in there so it will be hard to really overcook it too much. I like to cook the chicken until it is easily shredded, so I go a little past when it is just cooked.
- Remove pan from oven and set chicken aside on a plate. Set pan with remaining juices on the stove top and turn heat to high. While whisking, reduce sauce until it is thick and coats a spoon. This should take a few minutes, depending on how thick you'd like the sauce.
- Add back in the chicken and coat with sauce. Tear up the chicken if you'd like smaller pieces. Serve with veggies and rice, or on top of an asian salad.
- I use a 10 inch cast iron pan here because a little extra surface area will get the sauce to reduce faster. If you only have a smaller pan it will work too, you'll just need to reduce the sauce a little longer. I also just use the lid from another pot that just fits on the top, it was not necessarily made for the cast iron pan.