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When a viewer from New Jersey named Sherry told us she's made honey chicken "over and over again and just can't get it to be consistently good," we knew exactly who to call to help her. "Top Chef" winner Richard Blais to the rescue! After watching her prepare the dish, he "Blaised" the recipe, browning the chicken, adding seasonings and toning down the sweetness by omitting the apricot jam. Sherry is thrilled with the result ("it tastes amazing!" she swoons), and we think you will be, too!
Richard suggests serving the chicken alongside steamed basmati rice flavored with a little butter and garlic powder. Also, if you like, blanch some broccoli, then toss it in a hot pan with sesame oil, minced garlic and sesame seeds, followed by a squirt of lemon juice. You can plate it next to the chicken or mix it into the chicken.
Pro Tip from Richard: If you prefer, you can combine and then bake the marinade, sauteed ginger mixture and chicken in an ovenproof casserole dish.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Season the chicken with 5-spice powder (if using), salt and white pepper. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown on both sides, flipping once. (The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, soy sauce and honey, then set the marinade aside.
Transfer the chicken to a plate, keeping the skillet on the heat. To the same hot skillet, add the ginger, garlic, scallions and chiles and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Quickly return the chicken to the skillet, pour in the marinade and coat the chicken with the mixture.
Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened a bit, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve topped with sesame seeds and Szechuan chili oil to taste (if using).