Smoky sesame oil, home made hoisin sauce (trust me, it’s w-a-a-a-y better than store bought, and wicked simple to toss together), and a slow cooker combine to turn a whole, halved chicken into one. fine. meal.
I tweaked the original recipe from Oxmoor House just a bit; they called for using 8 chicken thighs, then I used sweetened fresh lemon juice* in place of orange juice, upped the hoisin sauce a bit, and added some shredded carrots, and the white and light green bits of scallion to the slow cooker.
•1 tbsp sesame oil
•1 whole chicken, halved
•1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low salt)
•2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
•2 tbsp fresh orange juice or sweetened fresh lemon juice*
•2 tbsp hoisin sauce
•1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
•1 tsp minced garlic
•1 tbsp cornstarch
•1 tbsp cold water
•2 tsp sesame seeds
•2 scallions, sliced
*Sweetened lemon juice: lemon juice is more acidic than orange, so to substitute, you need sweeten and dilute it a bit. Dissolve 1 tbsp of sugar in 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, then add 1/4 cup of water. You ratios are 1:1:4 (lemon juice:sugar:water).
Combine the soy sauce with the brown sugar or maple syrup, the hoisin sauce, orange or lemon juice, garlic, and ginger – I used my immersion blender.
Cut the chicken in half – or into pieces if you prefer.
Heat the sesame oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the chicken, cooking about four minutes per side, just to brown it.
Apply cooking spray to the insides of your slow cooker, then add the browned chicken halves (or pieces), the white and light green parts of the scallion only, and the shredded carrots.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover and cook for about three hours, until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. I started my slow cooker on high, then switched to low once the lid was nicely steamed up.
Note: both my sister and I have noticed that a lot of slow cooker recipes seem to call for excessively long cooking times, but this one seems to be pretty much spot on, so go by your experience with your slow cooker. And mebbe a meat thermometer.
When the chicken is done, remove to a platter and keep warm. Strain the cooking juices into a sauce pan with enough water to measure 1-1/4 cup.
Bring to a boil, then combine the corn starch with the cold water and whisk into the sauce. Continue boiling, stirring, for another minute or two, until the sauce is nicely thickened.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the darker bits of sliced scallion and sesame seeds.
As an option; I might next time use hot chili sesame oil for the plain toasted, and we were both thinkin’ that this recipe and the sauce would be great on the grill – but I would then cut out the browning and mebbe make a sesame oil and buttermilk marinade for the chicken. Just a thought…