Pan-Marinated Chicken with Smoked Tea

Humble and healthful white meat chicken is given a new dimension cooked in a mixture of brewed tea and fresh ginger root. The best tea to use is a very smoky Lapsang Souchong, which is further, and boldly, flavored with fresh ginger. 

Pan-Marinated Chicken with Smoked Tea


Quantity Ingredients
2 cups water
2 tbsp Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
3-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced thinly into rounds
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 leeks, white part only, well washed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh spinach, stems removed, well washed and dried


1. Bring water to a boil. Cool for 5 minutes and then add tea leaves. Let steep for 3 minutes and then sieve to remove tea leaves. Add ginger root rounds and place chicken breasts into liquid. Marinated for 1 hour, refrigerated. 2. In a heavy saute pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil until hot. Remove chicken from marinade, drain and dry, then cook briefly, just until surface is golden brown. (Chicken should remain uncooked in the middle since it will be cooked thoroughly in tea marinade.) Remove chicken from pan and set aside. 3. Add garlic to saute pan, stirring constantly, until it releases its flavor but does not brown, about 20 seconds. Add onion, carrots, celery and leeks and cover over low heat just until tender but not browned. 4. Add chicken and tea marinade to cooked vegetables in pan and cook over low heat, covered, for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is firm and no longer pink. During cooking, do not allow liquid to come to a boil at any point. When chicken is done, set aside. 5. Puree vegetables and cookin liquid in a blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set sauce aside. 6. For final assembly: Heat 1 tbsp of oil in saute pan and add spinach. Cook just to wilt, then reserve. Slice chicken on the diagonal into 1/2-inch strips. On each plate, centre a mound of spinach and top with chicken. Spoon a ring of sauce around spinach and chicken and serve remaining sauce as desired. 

Source: Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen, Periplus Editions, 2000.