Upon arriving home from work today, there was a pair of chicken quarters starring at me from the refrigerator accusingly. My original plan was to grill the chicken but, despite the very obvious heralds of Spring, my plan was thwarted by the appearance of rain. While sitting on an endless conference call at work today, I contemplated my predicament. And, from some recess of my brain, came the idea of chicken teriyaki.
My experience with cooking Japanese food is basically non-existent. To me, Japanese food is intimidating. It is not only rooted in alien and unfamiliar techniques, it is also known for its simplicity and attention to detail. It is not only outside my comfort zone, it also has the reputation, to me at least, of being exacting and requiring skill to pull off correctly.
Despite my preconceived fears, this is a very simple recipe. The hardest part is probably the shopping but sake and mirin are commonplace anymore. While the ingredients are fairly simple, the outcome is definitely more than the sum of its parts. But it’s also self-evident that the quality of the ingredients is paramount. Good chicken, pasture raised, preferably from a small farmer or farmer’s market (as mine was) will elevate this dish from the pedestrian to the sublime. And, while I’m no expert on Japanese food, that is the exact impression I’ve always gathered from it.
Adapted from The Best Recipes in the World
4 bone-in chicken quarters
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup sake
1/3 cup mirin
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
- Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning as needed, until the chicken is mostly cooked (to an internal temperature of approximately 150°F).
- Remove the chicken from the skillet.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Deglaze the pan with the water. Add the sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce.
- When the sauce begins to bubble, return the chicken to the skillet. Cook, turning the chicken in the skillet, until the sauce becomes almost a glaze and the chicken is well coated.
- Serve immediately with sticky rice.