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Beggar's Chicken

3 1/2 lb chicken, washed and patted dry

2 tbl dark soy sauce
1 tbl sesame oil
1 tbl dry sherry or chinese rice wine
1 1/2 tsp. five-spice powder
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Parchment paper
1 paper lunch bag
12 lb clay from a local potter (this is the original but you can
substitute with aluminum foil and stick in oven)

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and rub the bird with
this mixture, inside and out. Tie the legs together and place the
bird on a roasting rack in a pan. Roast in a 450 F oven, breast
side up, on a large piece of parchment paper and wrap up. Slip
the wrapped bird into the paper lunch sack and fold up the ends of
the bag.

Optional but interesting:

Roll out the clay on a dish towel on a breadboard to about 3/8 in
thick, 16 in wide, and 21 in long.

Place the bagged chicken in the middle of the clay and bring the
sides of the clay slab up to meet across the top, shaping close to
the bird. Press the ends down and secure by pinching the clay.
Do this carefully so that you have a kind of clay envelope with
about a 1-inch edge of clay on the top and the ends. Trim off the
excess. Pinch together decoratively if you like.

Place the clay-covered chicken in a large baking pan and bake at
350 F for about 2 1/2 hrs. Transfer the bird to a large shallow
tray or basket and invite your guests to watch the cracking of the
clay. Use a wooden mallet. The clay will crack readily and you
can lift off the pieces. Return the chicken to the kitchen and
remove all the clay. Pull off the paper bag and hack (with a
cleaver cutting the meat into large bite-size pieces) the chicken
into serving pieces.

If you use foil very the temp for the size of the bird.


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