Caramelised beer chicken

Prep Time: a few hours
Servings: 6
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 1 - large whole chicken
  • - SAUCE
  • 200ml - brown sugar
  • 125ml - water
  • 250ml - lager
  • 1 - stick cinnamon
  • 2 - star anise
  • 30ml - fish sauce
  • 45ml - rice wine vinegar
  • 125ml - soy sauce
  • 2 - cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2cm - fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 - red chilli
  • 2 - bay leaves

1 Make the sauce Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan over moderate heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the caramel turns a deep, rich colour. Add the beer – be careful, it will sizzle and splash. Stir again until the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and cool completely.

2 Place the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board; using sharp kitchen scissors, cut down both sides of the backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken over, fold the drumsticks under the sides of the chicken so that the thighs face outwards, then press with the palm of your hand on the breast-side to flatten it. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish, pour the caramelised beer sauce over, cover and marinate in the refrigerator – the longer the better, if you have time (it's not essential, but it builds delicious flavour). Turn the chicken in the sauce occasionally.

3 Preheat the oven to 160°C. Bake the chicken for about 1 hour in the sauce, basting frequently. Serve the chicken and rich pan sauce with rice and stir-fried vegetables, a sprinkling of fresh coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

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