Fragrant Braised Chicken

January 31, 2011
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I have been wooed by black cardamom. While both types of cardamom are uniquely aromatic, black cardamom pods have a heady, smoky quality that is difficult to describe or forget. I thought that braising would capture its essence. Jamie Oliver has an amazing chicken recipe that involves cooking a whole chicken in a mixture of milk, lemon zest, garlic and sage leaves. The resulting chicken is incredibly moist and flavorful. Changing up the ingredients, and keeping the lid on for the first 45 minutes concentrates the smoky black cardamom, the subtly spiced ginger, and fragrant orange into a surprisingly delicately flavored chicken that is moist and delicious. Cream rounds out the sauce while cilantro adds fresh brightness. —gingerroot

What You'll Need
  • 1 3 to 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, preferably organic
  • 1 pinch sSea salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 splash extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 piece ginger, peeled, cut into four pieces, and smashed with handle of knife (2-inches)
  • 4 black cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and stems
  1. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat to 375° F.
  2. Rinse chicken, removing giblets and neck; reserve giblets for another use. Pat chicken and neck dry with a paper towel and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Trim excess fat if necessary (around neck cavity especially).
  3. Over medium-high heat, melt butter and a glug of olive oil in a cast-iron enamel Dutch oven that's slightly bigger than the chicken. Once foam subsides, add chicken and neck and carefully cook on all sides until golden.
  4. Transfer chicken to a plate. Carefully pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Either discard fat or reserve it for another use. Return chicken into pot, along with ginger, black cardamom, coriander, orange zest, and chicken stock. Cover pot with lid and place in oven for 45 minutes, basting chicken once halfway through. After 45 minutes, remove lid and cook chicken for 25 to 35 additional minutes, until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165° F.
  5. Remove from oven. Take chicken out and allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Discard neck. Meanwhile, place Dutch oven on stovetop and whisk in cream and cilantro.
  6. Carve chicken and transfer to a serving platter. Generously spoon sauce over chicken pieces and serve. Enjoy! Note: Remaining sauce can be transferred to a gravy boat and enjoyed over rice or mashed potatoes alongside the chicken.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • sel et poivre
    sel et poivre
  • AntoniaJames
  • AppleAnnie
  • SallyCan
  • FrenchPressMemos

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

50 Reviews

sel E. May 29, 2013
I have black cardamom!! I am soo trying this this weekend.
gingerroot May 29, 2013
I can't wait to hear what you think! Feel free to use less butter if you like - I was really experimenting at this point and it is just as good with a few T less.
sel E. June 4, 2013
We just finished dinner and I just have to tell you right away what a hit it was at our house. There's a lot going on in that dish. The chicken was tender and flavourful. One bite and the first thing we noticed was the smokiness from the black cardamom. The citrus hit right after. The white wine which I used in place` of the chicken stock fitted in perfectly with the creamy sauce. I also added a sprinkle of chilli flakes at the end for a bit of heat. Perfect with rice. My husband and I totally licked our plates clean! Thanks!
gingerroot June 6, 2013
Oh wow, sel et poivre, thanks for letting me know! I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed it.
AntoniaJames February 9, 2011
I made this over the weekend and as expected, it was divine! Of course, I tinkered with the recipe, using only one tablespoon of butter and a bit of olive oil -- which were more than sufficient -- adding a thinly sliced onion and some garlic, and spatch-cocking then braise-roasting the bird in a large cast iron skillet. Delicious! (Even with just one tablespoon of butter, the onion sauce was rich and tasty.) I had to make a special trip, a bit out of my way, to find the black cardamom, but it was well worth the effort. Thanks for another outstanding recipe, gingerroot!! ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian February 10, 2011
And thanks to AJ's generosity, I too now have a little supply of black cardamom. I love the smokey aroma it has and can't wait to use it and try this recipe!!
gingerroot February 10, 2011
So happy you tried this - and tinkered - and enjoyed! Thanks, AJ!! PS, Thanks for sharing your black cardamom with ChezSuzanne too...: )
chris January 27, 2015
So, you throw the black cardamom pod (about the size of a walnut, right?) into the braise, then trash it? Any way to use the seeds? (My order just arrived from Amazon; I'm excited to use them!)
gingerroot January 28, 2015
Hi Chris, I've never reused them, but would be interested to hear how you do, if you make this. Thanks for your comment!
AppleAnnie February 8, 2011
This could be subtitled "Chicken for the Gods." I loved it! To thicken the sauce I ground added almond meal (ground almonds) which I think works very well with chicken pan juices. One other adaptation, I used a very dry hard cider instead of the chicken stock (it became chicken stock during the roasting), and its subtle bouquet blended beautifully with the other flavors.
gingerroot February 8, 2011
Thanks AppleAnnie! I'm thrilled you tried it and enjoyed it. I also love your addition of almond meal to thicken the sauce - I will definitely have to try that. I also like your use of dry hard cider - a great complement to the other flavors.
SallyCan February 2, 2011
Beautiful recipe, Gingerroot! I'm with you on the black cardamom ;)
gingerroot February 8, 2011
Thanks so much Sally!
FrenchPressMemos February 2, 2011
What a beauty! I might have to pick up a chicken to try this ....tonight! Flawless photo- it looks perfectly crisp and equally juicy.
gingerroot February 8, 2011
Thanks FrenchPressMemos...I hope you enjoyed it if you tried it!
Midge February 1, 2011
Oh man, what I wouldn't give to be having this for dinner in HNL tonight. Yum!
gingerroot February 1, 2011
Thanks so much Midge! Let me know what you think if you try it. Btw, your lemony lima dip is fabulous!! I could eat it by the spoonful. : )
Midge February 3, 2011
I'm so happy you liked it!
healthierkitchen February 1, 2011
This looks so,so good!
gingerroot February 1, 2011
Thanks, healthierkitchen!
Lizthechef February 1, 2011
Fabulous recipe - that is all there is to it!!
gingerroot February 1, 2011
Thanks so much, Liz! I hope you try it. : )
edamame2003 February 1, 2011
a braised chicken?! brilliant--looks so delicious. i had to read this twice and realized it was simply genius! thank you gingerroot--and BTW, I will be there for dinner! :)
gingerroot February 1, 2011
Wow, Eda, thank you! The best thing about cooking a whole chicken this way is that the meat is moist and tender, but the skin is crisp and browned. I hope you try it. I look forward to cooking and eating with you someday!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 31, 2011
Wow! This sounds seriously delicious, gingerroot!!!! I'm a big fan of cardamom, but must confess I haven't worked with black cardamom, only the green. Is it generally found in the dried spices where I find the green variety?
gingerroot February 1, 2011
Thanks so much ChezSuzanne! Actually, the first time I bought black cardamom, I was looking for the green. I think WF (where I found it) or any store with bulk spices would carry black cardamom. I hope you try it!
AntoniaJames January 31, 2011
Gorgeous photo, too! I just want to go make some right now and eat it tonight. Cannot wait (!!) to try this. ;o)
gingerroot February 1, 2011
Thanks so much AJ! : )
dymnyno January 31, 2011
This really sounds seriously delicious!! I am going to make this for my weekly chicken.
dymnyno January 31, 2011
One question: When the chicken is first cooked until golden, is it cooked all the way or just browned?
gingerroot January 31, 2011
Thanks so much, dymnyno! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Let me know what you think. To answer your other question, it is just to start to crisp up the skin and give it some color. It will actually get quite a bit darker and crispier in the oven, as well as cook all the way through. I also edited the amount of butter used - the butter I used was from a big block and was probably more like 6T instead of a whole stick.
gingerroot January 31, 2011
Thanks everyone for all of your lovely comments. You are all officially invited over for dinner! : )
aargersi January 31, 2011
We are the types that show up, too!
hardlikearmour January 31, 2011
Yes! There are direct flights from PDX to HNL.
gingerroot January 31, 2011
Seriously, how fun would that be?!?
AntoniaJames January 31, 2011
I'm in. ;o)
AntoniaJames January 31, 2011
Sort of a Ginger's Kitchen event, Hawaii style . . . because you don't really think we'd just show up for dinner, without getting a bit more, er, shall we say, "involved" in the kitchen, as in coming up with a bunch of new recipes together (all due credit to aargersi and friends for the brilliant concept)!! But of course this would be Gingerroot's Kitchen . .. ;o)
hardlikearmour January 31, 2011
love it, AJ! i'm sure the midwesterners and east coasters would love a break from the snow storm headed their way.
gingerroot February 1, 2011
I totally knew what I was getting into when I said that...that you all will show up someday, and we'll have a fabulous time cooking and eating together! : )
nannydeb January 31, 2011
Sounds like you need some good bread to sop up the sauce too! Yum!
gingerroot January 31, 2011
Definitely! I sometimes forget about the bread since my husband is gf.
AntoniaJames January 31, 2011
I'm going to adapt this recipe the next time I spatchcock a chicken. Sounds beautifully aromatic. Thanks for developing and posting this!! ;o)
MegB January 31, 2011
Made this tonight and the chicken was very moist and aromatic! I had a little trouble with the sauce... mine was quite thin and a little oily; not sure if that is how it "normally" comes out. As a bonus, I loved the one-pot cleanup.
gingerroot January 31, 2011
Hi MegB, I'm thrilled you made this (kind of incredible since in Hawaii it is only 10:24 am and I made it last night). The sauce is on the thinner side, although with some whisking mine was not overly oily. I did add a note above that for a thicker sauce you could make a slurry with some of the cream and a tablespoon or two of cornstarch and thoroughly whisk that in with your burner on...that might take care of the excess oil as well. Thanks for your thoughtful feedback, I'm a big fan of only cleaning one-pot too.
AntoniaJames January 31, 2011
Wondering if you really need a full stick of butter, and if using less might help . . . . ;o)
gingerroot January 31, 2011
That is a great point, AJ! The more I think about it, since I used butter from a big block, I think it was probably more like 6 T rather than a whole stick, which may be why my sauce was not overly oily. I bet you could even get away with using a little bit less. I've edited my recipe to reflect this change.
hardlikearmour January 31, 2011
This sounds incredible! You really should invite us over for dinner.
mrslarkin January 31, 2011
Yum. Can I come over?
drbabs January 31, 2011
Sagegreen January 31, 2011