Chinese Black Tea Chicken

A featured Wine Club recipe for Greenwood Ridge Vineyards.
Chinese Black Tea Chicken


This delicious recipe by Marilyn Tsai is full of unique and wonderful flavors. The black tea adds just enough to bring out the other spices. Pair it with a glass of Greenwood Ridge Merlot. **Chicken will need to marinate for at least 24 hours.

Yield: 6 - 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 75 Minutes


• 1 whole chicken; 3-4 pounds
• 2 tablespoons melted butter

• 2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns
• 2 whole star anise
• 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
• 1/2 cup kosher salt
• 3/4 cup sliced fresh ginger
• 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
• 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
• 4 cups soy sauce
• 1 cup black tea leaves, tied in a cheesecloth
• 8 cups water


Heat a saucepan over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add oil, ginger, garlic and cook until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Add the coriander, star anise and peppercorns. Cook until spices are toasted and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Then add the water, salt and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the tea. Cover and let steep for 8-10 minutes. Discard the tea. Let the brine cool completely.

Place the chicken in a large container and cover it with the brine. Make sure that the whole chicken is submerged in the brine. You may place a heavy lid or a plate on top of the chicken to make sure that it is submerged. Place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Place the chicken breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush the skin of the chicken evenly with the melted butter. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a sharp knife. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the chicken when pierced in the thigh (the thickest part) should be 155°F.

After removing chicken from the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes in a warm place. You may serve it whole and carve at tableside or cut it up and serve on individual platters.

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