Chinese Braised Chicken with Chestnutsis a tradition Chinese recipe that is pure comfort food.
Chinese New Year is coming up soon – February 10, 2013, and it’s the Year of the Black Snake! I’ve been thinking of what dishes I’m going to make for my family, and this Chinese Braised Chicken with Chestnuts is a dish that’s been on my mind recently.
For 8 years, we had a woman from Shanghai live with our family to help care for my aging in-laws. After both my mother-in-law and father-in-law passed away, she moved out and returned to her home country. We were so fortunate to find someone as capable as she was – not only was she an excellent caregiver, but she was a great cook and I learned a few dishes from her while she lived with us.
This Chinese Braised Chicken with Chestnuts is traditionally Shanghainese and I remember Wendy making this for our family. Although dried chestnuts used to be commonly used in this dish, frozen fresh chestnuts and jarred chestnuts are more readily available these days, so that’s what I use.
Today, Food Network and a group of bloggers is featuring Chicken for this week’s Comfort Food Feast event. Please stop by and see what everyone made:
The Cultural Dish: Chicken Marsala
Thursday Night Dinner: Girls’ Night Chicken and Artichoke Pasta
Feed Me Phoebe: Honey Mustard Chicken Wings
Devour: Fried Chicken, 5 Ways
Made By Michelle: Chicken and Kale Casserole
Virtually Homemade: Tortilla Chip Chicken Tenders With Creamy BBQ Sauce
Cooking With Elise: Chicken Pastry
FN Dish: The New Face of Comforting Chicken Dishes
Chinese Braised Chicken with Chestnuts
- 2 1/2 pounds chicken parts I used chicken thighs on the bone
- 4 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 scallions cut into 2 inch lengths
- 5 slices ginger the size of quarters, peeled
- 1 cup fresh chestnuts or defrosted frozen ones
- 8 shitake mushrooms rehydrated in water (reserve soaking liquid), stems removed, halved
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 star anise
- 1 cup shitake mushroom soaking liquid
Chop chicken parts into small pieces if you like (1 1/2" pieces). Marinate chicken with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Heat oil in a large pan and add scallions and ginger; saute a few minutes until fragrant. Place chicken pieces in pan in a single layer. Brown on one side, then turn over all the pieces and brown the other side. Add remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sherry, honey, star anise, rehydrated shitake mushrooms, and shitake mushroom soaking liquid. Mix sauce and chicken well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, covered. Add chestnuts and toss gently. Cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes, until chicken is tender.
Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
Such a great recipe, Jeanette! Easy, light and a fun twist on the usual meals that come out of my kitchen. Thanks for sharing!
Norma Chang says
I too prefer to use chicken thigh when making this dish. Your photo is making me hungry and I already had dinner.
How can I vote if I have neither facebook nor twitter?
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) says
What a beautiful dish Jeanette! We are taking our son to a big Chinese New Year celebration this weekend – I can’t wait to figure out what I am going to cook afterwards.
France @ Beyond The Peel says
Oh I just love the flavors here. I’m going to have to see if I can get some chestnuts in my small town. It just sounds too delicious not to try.
Yi @ Yi Resevation says
one of my favorite chicken dishes! Just picturing the savory and aromatic chicken makes me drool. Thanks for sharing and happy new year!
Happy New Year Yi! This is a classic recipe – still working on my menu for tomorrow – this might be on it.
I have a similar story. A female caretaker for my grandparents right before they passed away made this dish amongst many others and I wrote the recipe down in a journal somewhere. Wish I could make it but can’t get any of these ingredients lately.
Heah Kim Beng Calvin says
it is one of my favourite dish. Thanks for sharing..
Calvin, I hope you enjoy this. We make this often when the weather is cooler.
Mary Scott says
Chinese cuisine does not use olive oil or sherry, so it’s not traditional at all. I have lived in China for the last twenty years and have never seen sherry on sale.
Still sounds good though.
Mary – you are correct, olive oil and sherry are not used in traditional Chinese cuisine. My parents used sherry in place of rice wine for all their cooking when I was growing up as it was easier to find. And, we use olive oil because we believe it’s a healthier and allergy-friendly oil in place of vegetable/peanut oil.
This is seriously so ridiculously good! I just made it last night, and it is one of the best-tasting things I have ever made. I had to make a slightly modified version due to unavailability of some ingredients, but it was basically the same thing. I now have multiple requests to cook this dish. Thanks for posting it!
Stuart – so glad you enjoyed this! It’s a classic Chinese dish and great for entertaining. Thanks for coming back and letting me know how it turned out.
What can you use instead of sherry?
You can use white wine in place of sherry or just leave it out.
Is there a need for garlic to enchance the flavor?
Garlic is not traditionally part of this recipe, but I love garlic – I don’t think you can ever go wrong with some 🙂
Excited to try this! How long do you soak the mushrooms for?
Soak the mushrooms in hot water for at least 30 minutes. I use a wet paper towel on top to keep the mushrooms submierged.
B. Chin says
Your recipes look so delish. I love and miss daily Chinese cooking. Your recipes enable me to enjoy and remember days past. My mother was a fantastic cook and your recipes contain ingredients similar to what she would use. I can’t wait to try this! I only wish the recipes that I like to cook contain ingredients with less potassium, something I watch due to being on a kidney diet. What I do is just eliminate the item that adds to the high postassium, but that’s not always possible. It would be the answer to my wish if someday you might add kidney friendly Chinese foods to your specialized diets! I will keep looking!
Great tasting chicken even better than from the restaurant. I saved my efforts by using pre-cooked chestnuts from packages . Definitely a saver ! Thanks for sharing!
Hi May – so glad you enjoyed this recipe – great idea using pre-cooked chestnuts!
Josephine Teow says
Hi Jeanette, thank you for sharing the recipe. Unfortunately, my son does not like mushroom. May I know any replacement for this to get the liquid sauce? Thank you.
You can just substitute chicken broth
Bree Na says
Hi Jeannie, I’ve cooked the recipe and it reminds me of my childhood CNY dinner with my grandmother. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I’d like to cook this again but with pork belly, do you think the steps would be the same?
Hi Bree, so glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe. I think you could do the same with pork belly, but would need to cook longer so it’s tender.
Anna Macleod says
Great recipe, thanks. Needed to use up some chestnuts in the freezer as part of the eat-out-the-freezer run up to Christmas and I had most of the other ingredients except for the mushrooms. Could only find fresh shitake mushrooms so a little improvising was in order. I used them, quartered, and added half a chicken stock cube and a teaspoon of porcini powder (/&*$#@ I know) to the water. I suspect the flavour was quite different to the real thing but tasty nonetheless and a hit with the family. Looking forward to finding some dried shitake mushrooms to try your original recipe.
Love how you improvised the recipe