Soy-Poached Chicken

3 cups mushroom-flavored soy sauce, or any dark soy sauce
3 cups (one bottle) mei kuei lu chiew wine, or any floral, off-dry wine, like Gewurztraminer or Muscat
2 pieces star anise
14 ounces yellow rock sugar (1 box), or 1 cup white sugar
3 ounces giner (about a 5 ounce knob), cut into thick slices and bruised w/ the side of a knife
10 medium scallions, untrimmed
1 whole chicken (2 to 3 pounds)

In a narrow pot with about a 6-quart capacity, combine the soy sauce, wine, 2 cups water, and star anise over high heat. While the sugar is still in its box (or wrapped in a towel), smack it several times with a hammer or rolling pin to break it up, it need not be too fine. Add the sugar and ginger to the liquid and bring it to a rolling boil.

Add 6 of the scallions, then gently and slowly lower the chicken into the liquid, breast side down. (In a narrow pot, the liquid will easily cover the chicken; if it is close, just dunk the chicken under the liquid as it cooks. If it is not close, add a mixture of equal parts soy sauce and water to raise the level). Bring the liquid back to a boil and boil steadily for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and turn the chicken over so the breast side is up. Let it sit in the hot liquid for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, trim and mince the remaining scallions and preheat the oven to 500F, if you like.

Carefully remove the chicken from the liquid and serve it, hot or at room temperature. Or place it in a skillet or roasting pan. Roast for 5 minutes, or until nicely browned; keep an eye on it, because it can burn easily. In either-case, reheat the sauce and, when the chicken is ready, carve it. Serve the chicken with a few spoonfuls of sauce on it. Pour another cup or so of the sauce in a bowl and add the mince scallions; pass this at the table.

-The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, Mark Bittman