Recipe for Salt-Smothered Chicken

Ingredients

----UTENSILS----
1 bowl for marinade
6 quart to 8 quart enameled casserole with; cover
1 strainer
1 sauce pan
----INGREDIENTS----
1 whole fryer (3 1/2 lbs)
1 teaspoon minced ginger root
1 scallion with 1 inch of green, cut; in 1/4-inch rounds
1 teaspoon minced chinese parsley
1 piece dried tangerine peel (1 inch; in diameter)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground szechuan or black pepper
2 teaspoon chinese orange wine or cointreau
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon cold chicken stock or cold water
5 lb rock [or kosher] salt
1 chinese parsley for decorating

Instructions

Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours

BEFORE COOKING:

Wash bird and blot dry with paper towels. Hang for 1 to 2 hours in a cool, dry place. Combine the ginger root, scallion, parsley, dried tangerine peel, salt, pepper, orange wine and water in the bowl. Tie or sew the bird's neck opening. Pour the marinade into the body cavity.

Sew cavity shut to prevent marinade from leaking. Combine cornstarch and stock or water. Have rock salt ready to go.

COOKING:

Put the rock salt in the casserole. Turn heat to high and stir salt crystals until they become red-hot, about 30 minutes. Scoop out enough salt to make a well in which you can place the chicken, leaving a bed of salt about 2 inches thick. Place the filled bird breast-side-down in the salt and pack it all around with the scooped-out salt. Cover casserole and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes. Remover bird and cut away threads. Pour marinade from the cavity into a strainer over the pint saucepan. Chop chicken into Chinese-style serving pieces and arrange on a platter. Heat the marinade over medium heat until boiling.

Give the cornstarch-stock mixture a quick stir to dissolve any lumps; add to marinade. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes clear. Pour over bird. Decorate with sprigs of Chinese parsley and serve. The chicken will be tender and moist without being overly salty. It will have a subtle fragrance.

Servings: Enough for 4 as a single course or for 6 to 8 in a full menu.





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