Happy (Chinese) New Year!
For some reason, we always celebrated Chinese New Year when I was a kid. I don’t know why, but I always looked forward to it. It was so fun, and we didn’t eat Chinese nearly as often back then as we do now. Mom would take out the electric wok and cook dinner right on the table – usually a chicken stir-fry. The next night, we’d wrap the leftovers in tortillas and eat them as fajitas. Yum.
I made this clementine-soy glazed chicken a few weeks ago and thought it would be the perfect Chinese New Year post. But then I started researching and apparently I had it all wrong. The holiday has all sorts of food traditions, like eating noodles to bring long life and dumplings to bring wealth. And apparently serving a chicken or duck whole represents health, but serving it cut – like these thighs – is the opposite. Oops.
Oh well. This dish is delicious any time of the year, and you should definitely make it (if you’re superstitious or prefer to celebrate the New Year more traditionally, just wait until tomorrow.)
I almost always have a crate of clementines sitting on my counter this time of year, but they go bad quicker than I can eat them so I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for cooking with them. I’ve found that roasting them concentrates their flavor and makes them super juicy! For this dish, I roasted them along with some chicken thighs, then used the juice in an Asian-inspired sauce. The chicken was great, with a perfectly crispy skin stretched over juicy meat, but the sauce was really the highlight of the dish. It was delicate and tangy, with a slight hint of perfume from the citrus. It was delicious spooned over the chicken, but even better mixed into the red quinoa that I served on the side. Thanks to the sauce, I’d say it was some of the best quinoa I’ve ever eaten.