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Roasted Five-Spice Chicken

October 11, 2010

Sundays for me are not only a day to relax, sleep off a late night if needed, and catch up on my reading; but Sundays are also my favorite day of the week to cook.  Mid-day I start thinking about what dish I’m in the mood for and then spend time looking up recipes for the perfect one.  Once the recipe is picked, I then head over to the market where I take my time perusing the aisles and picking up the ingredients.  Oh how I love food shopping when I have the time to wander around.  Once my food shopping fix is satisfied, I then stroll back home.  I ceremoniously put on my apron and then pull out a glass and poor some wine from the bottle that I’m trying to finish up at the moment.  From there, I turn on some music and start the chopping, and well, you know how it goes on from there.  This is my ideal Sunday.

Despite my love for cooking on Sundays, for one reason or another I just haven’t been able to do it in a while.  Whereas some people get antsy when they haven’t been to a gym in a while, I was feeling antsy from not having my Sunday afternoon cooking.  I really needed my fix and made sure to rectify the situation this past weekend.

For my return to this ritual of mine, I wanted something that was comforting and that would fill my apartment with the smells of a good home-cooked meal.  My instant first thought was roast chicken.  How perfect.  Not to mention how much I love having leftovers through the rest of the week.  I began my search for a recipe.  Saveur‘s website lead me to a recipe for a roasted five-spice chicken posted on The Hungry Mouse‘s food blog.  How perfect!  Just the comfort food I was looking for, but with a little twist of spice.

I believe this recipe is an original one created by The Hungry Mouse, and it is fantastic.  Not to mention quite easy–in fact, almost too easy for my Sunday afternoon to be honest.  You start by making a marinade that smells (and tastes) amazing.  How can you go wrong with anything that involves sesame oil, fresh garlic and five-spice seasoning (see note below about five-spice powder)?  I let my chicken marinade in this for about 5 hours, but the blog suggests that if needed you can go ahead and cook the chicken right after covering it in the marinade.  From there you then just pop the chicken in the oven, and voila, about 50 minutes later you have tasty roast chicken.

The Hungry Mouse‘s recipe calls for 6 chicken leg quarters, or about 4.5 – 5 pounds.  Knowing that was too much for me, I instead made it with a quartered chicken (2 breasts, 2 legs/thighs) that amounted to 3 pounds.  I found that the marinade just covered what I had without any extra hanging out.  This made me think that if I had made the recipe with 4.5 – 5 pounds of chicken, then I would have wanted more marinade.  Something for you to think about.  I mean you don’t want to miss out on all the good flavor, do you?  Lastly, I also had a couple chicken wings that I threw in.  They were really, really good–like probably my favorite part.  If you are looking for a chicken wing dish for football or some other social gathering, this would also be a great marinade for that as well.

Okay, here is the recipe.  The original recipe can be found here.  Below I have all the same ingredients and measurements, but I just consolidated the directions.  I do recommend also referring to The Hungry Mouse‘s post, which includes really nice step-by-step photos.  Again, as a reminder, you may want to consider increasing the marinade measurements by 1.5 or 2 times.  This serves 4-6 people.

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder (see note)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 6 chicken leg quarters, 4 1/2 – 5 lbs.
  • chili flakes, for garnish
  • minced parsley and/or sliced scallion, for garnish
  1. Set the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a bowl mix the garlic, salt, sesame oil, five-spice powder and rice vinegar.
  3. Mix the marinade with the chicken and let sit for a few minutes or up to a day (remember to refrigerate the chicken as it marinades!).  I prefer doing this in a zip lock bag, but a covered bowl also works.
  4. Lay the chicken pieces on a baking sheet (covered with tin foil if you want easier clean-up), spread apart.  Keep the skin sides up.
  5. Place the chicken in the oven and let bake for about 50 minutes.  Keep an eye on the chicken and if the garlic starts to burn, you can then lightly cover the chicken with tin foil.  The chicken is ready once the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  6. Once ready, remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  7. Serve, sprinkled with red chili flakes and parsley/scallions.


What is five-spice powder?  This is a very favorable Chinese seasoning that mixes ground star anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and fennel seeds.  It is easily found in grocery stores along with all the other seasonings.  At my market, it was labeled “Chinese Five-Spice” so was under the “C’s” in lieu of the “F’s”, where I first searched.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    October 11, 2010 11:15 pm

    This recipe looks SO good!! I will definitely be cooking this one soon! And your pictures are FANTASTIC!!

  2. Laura permalink
    October 12, 2010 9:06 am

    Yum! I am making it. Can’t wait! Thanks for the easy idea!

  3. October 12, 2010 1:26 pm

    I cannot WAIT to try this!! Sounds perfect in the cold days ahead.

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