The crisp crackle of Peking Duck skin is one of my favourite tastes and textures. My mother used to make Peking Duck at home. She would hang the duck from a hook, place a fan near it and leave it until the skin dried out (usually 24 hours). Then she would roast it at high heat. It was a superb recipe, but also time-consuming and, with a duck dangling in the kitchen, not altogether attractive. People who saw it were quite shocked. You'll get a similar result in a short time by making these Peking chicken thighs. A frying pan large enough to hold the thighs is best because the sauce can be made directly in it. Otherwise, use a rack over a roasting pan and make the sauce in the pan. Gai lan is Chinese broccoli, but any green will do. Serve rice on the side. Any sweet wine with a high amount of sugar works to brown the skin. Ice wine would be expensive but sensational.
Ready time: 3 hours, including marinating time
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup late-harvest Riesling or other sweet wine
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp sweet wine
1/4 tsp Sriracha (or more to taste)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Combine honey and soy and brush all over chicken thighs. Place on a baking sheet and marinate for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Heat ovenproof skillet or roasting pan over medium heat. Add oil, then chicken, skin side down. Fry for about 3 minutes or until skin begins to crisp. Turn over and fry second side for 2 minutes. Baste chicken with sweet wine. Place in oven.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until skin is crisp and thighs are tender, basting once with wine. If chicken begins to brown too quickly, cover loosely with parchment paper.
Let thighs rest while making sauce. Pour all the fat out of the frying pan and place pan over medium heat. Add pomegranate juice, hoisin, wine, Sriracha and rice vinegar. Bring to boil and reduce until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
Serve the thighs over steamed gai lan and drizzle with sauce.