Tea-Smoked Chicken Thighs
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1 quart boxed chicken stock or broth (I like Kitchen Basics)
1 cup black tea
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup raw rice
Freshly-ground black pepper
Equipment: A wok (14 inches in diameter) with a two-level bamboo steamer (10 inches in diameter) that has a lid, aluminum foil, two damp kitchen towels.
Sprinkle the meat side of the chicken thighs with the salt and let them sit for 10 minutes. Then put them in a pot and pour the stock or broth over them. Add a little water to cover the thighs, if necessary. Bring to the boil over medium heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the thighs sit in the liquid for another 10 minutes.
Line the wok with aluminum foil. Stir together the tea, rice, and sugar, and put the mixture in the wok. Spread the mixture out into a circle that’s just a bit smaller than the steamer diameter. Turn the heat under the wok to medium.
Meanwhile, remove the thighs from the broth (save the broth for another use). Pat them dry with paper towels and place four of them on each of the steamer racks. Put the racks together and put the lid on. When the tea mixture in the wok begins to smoke all over, put the steamer on the wok over the tea mixture. Turn the heat to low and surround the steamer with the damp towels to prevent steam from escaping. Smoke on low heat for 20 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the apparatus sit for another 10 minutes.
Just before the chicken’s time in the steamer is up, heat a large non-stick skillet that you’ve sprayed with cooking spray. Put some pepper on the thighs then put them in the hot skillet, skin-side down, and cook them for 5 minutes or so, to brown up and crisp the skin. Serve hot.