This process gives you firm chicken with silky skin, succulent from the bird's juices, which turn into jelly after being submerged in iced water. It's perfect for cold cuts and chicken salads and is exceptional when cut Chinese-style and served with spring onion oil or pickled-cabbage dressing. I find that the cooking liquid has a lovely flavour and can be kept for stock: just strain, reduce by half and freeze. It's fabulous for soups.
1.6kg-1.8kg organic or free-range chicken
250ml shao hsing wine
½ bunch spring onions, dark-green ends only
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large knob ginger, peeled and sliced
lots of ice
For the ginger-spring onion oil
1 large knob ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2⁄3 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp peanut oil
1. To prepare the chicken, remove the fat from the cavity, rinse in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. In a heavy-based pot, one that's large enough to snugly accommodate the chicken, add the shao hsing wine, spring onion, garlic, ginger and 3.5 litres of water and bring to the boil. Carefully place the chicken in the pot, return to the boil and reduce the heat to achieve a high simmer. Put the lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and leave the chicken to steep for 20 minutes. Don't be tempted to lift the lid; the heat will dissipate.
4. Remove the lid and carefully lift the chicken from the stock. Drain the cavity and submerge the chicken in a similarly sized pot filled with iced water, leaving it to cool for 15 minutes. Thoroughly drain the chicken, place on a plate and chill in the fridge to completely set the juices.
5. Meanwhile, make the ginger-spring onion oil. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger into a fine paste. Add the spring onion and salt and continue to pound until combined. Heat the peanut oil until just smoking and pour it over the mixture.
6. Chop the chicken Chinese-style: place the bird on a chopping board with its legs facing away from you. Using a cleaver, cut off the legs, then the wings where they join the breast. Cut the bird down the back, removing the back bone, then cut the breast bone in half. Cut each breast and each leg into six pieces. Assemble the pieces on a platter to resemble the bird's original form and serve with the ginger-spring onion oil, steamed rice and vegetables.
Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.