Seriously, I don’t know how I like this better: Hot, the night it’s made—or cold, the next day.
I’m definitely a cold chicken lover.
Case in point: Remember that Purdue commercial from a thousand years ago? You know the one I’m talking about:
It’s kind of like that at The Mouse House when the fridge is full of cooked chicken.
Much like my Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken, this is an easy (borderline lazy) way to get dinner on the table. Sure, it would be easier to order takeout, but just by a little.
In my book, that makes this a good candidate for a weeknight dinner for the family—as well as a casual weekend get-together for a bunch of friends. It’s also really easy to scale it up to feed a crowd.
Because it’s roasted bone-in with the skin on, the chicken is moist and really flavorful. The skin gets wonderfully crispy and fragrant with spices. Depending on your oven, the raw garlic *might* burn a wee bit. If you see it starting to get too dark, just toss a sheet of aluminum foil over the chicken in the last minutes of roasting.
I like to marinate the chicken overnight to let the flavor really penetrate the chicken. That way, all I have to do is preheat my oven, slap the chicken on a pan and stick it in, and make the rest of our dinner while it’s roasting.
I usually wind up with time to spare to crack open a bottle of wine and sit and shoot the breeze while I wait for the timer to go off.
I love chicken leg quarters because they’re so flavorful, and they’re usually really cheap.
This recipe will work with a whole, cut-up chicken, as well. If you do that, just keep an eye on the breasts if you wind up with a really plump chicken. They may need a little more time in the oven.
What is five-spice powder?
Good question. Five-spice powder is one of my favorite Asian seasonings. (Try my Rustic 5-Spice Potato Chips.)
Typically composed of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder is used extensively in Chinese cooking, and is a great way to add spicy, earthy flavor to both savory and sweet dishes. Sometimes it includes ginger, or other spices.
You can find it in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores, at Asian markets, or online at Penzey’s (my favorite spice shop).
How to make your own five-spice powder
If you don’t have five spice powder, but you do have all its components stashed away in your cupboard, try making your own.
Combine equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and szechuan peppercorns in a spice (a.k.a. coffee) grinder, or a mortar and pestle, if you’re feeling like giving your arms a good workout.
Grind to a powder. Give it a taste to see if you’re happy with the blend. Adjust as necessary. (You may want to add more of one spice, depending on your particular taste.)
When you’re done, store it in a bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Garlic: To press or not to press
Now, I know some folks are super particular about how they prep their garlic.
Here’s the deal with garlic, at least according to the fabulous Harold McGee (if you haven’t read his book On Food and Cooking, I highly recommend it): The more you smash it up, the more of that pungent, garlicky flavor you release.
Personally, I love garlic, so when I’m in a rush, I’ll use a garlic press. I know, call me a heathen. It’s OK. (I’ve also been known to thinly slice it, or mince it to a paste with salt and my big knife).
Check out this article for an interesting (and very entertaining) take on garlic presses. In the end, prep the garlic however you like.
The short version of this recipe goes like this
Mix up the marinade, toss the chicken in it, let it sit overnight (or not), then roast for 50 minutes at 425 degrees.
Read on for details of what that looks like.
Easy Roasted Five-Spice Chicken
4 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
1 Tbls. kosher salt
2 Tbls. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. five-spice powder
1 Tbls. rice wine vinegar
6 chicken leg quarters, 4 1/2 – 5 lbs.
chili flakes, for garnish
minced parsley and/or sliced scallion, for garnish
Serves about 4
Make the marinade
Grab your garlic. Mash it up and toss it in a large bowl. Throw in the salt.
Add the sesame oil (I love Kadoya brand)…
Toss in the rice wine vinegar. (I like Marukan brand. Rice vinegar comes plain or seasoned with salt and sugar. Use the plain kind for this recipe. The sugar in the seasoned version might burn. Rice vinegar gives the marinade a little acid, which balances the flavors.)
Whisk to combine.
Marinate the chicken
Toss each piece of chicken into the bowl and roll it around to coat in marinade. (You can also transfer your marinade to a few gallon-sized, zip-top bags if you prefer to marinate that way.)
Let the chicken sit (covered, in the fridge) in the marinade for a few hours, or overnight, if you like. If you don’t want to wait, roast away!
Roast the chicken
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper (on a weeknight, I’ll double line like this for easy cleanup). Spread the chicken out in a single layer.
Roast the chicken for about 50 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the chicken juices run clear.
Let the chicken sit, loosely tented under a piece of foil, for about 10 minutes to let the juices settle. Don’t tent it tightly…you want to keep the skin crispy.
Serve and enjoy!
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped parsley (or sliced scallion).