Imagine a lighter take on Chinese orange-peel beef, and you'll get the idea here. The generous amount of roasted tangerine peel stays sweet and tender, thanks to a few prep tricks before it goes into the oven.
1 pound small tangerines, such as Clementines or Pixies
2 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoon each josher salt and freshly ground pepper, divided
4 each chicken thighs and drumsticks with bones and skin (2 3/4 lbs. total)
2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons each finely chopped garlic and fresh ginger
1 large green onion, cut into 2-in. slivers
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves or regular basil (tear leaves if large)
How to Make It
Cut tangerines in half and squeeze juice by hand (to preserve the shape of the peels) to make about 2/3 cup; discard seeds. Set peels aside. In a medium bowl, combine tangerine juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper.
With tip of a spoon, scrape out pulp and white pith from inside of tangerine peels and discard. Bring 2 in. water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add peels to pan, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until just tender, 5 minutes. Drain. Quarter peels and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with remaining 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
Heat a heavy 12-in. ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl to coat; then add chicken, skin side down, and brown until skin is deep golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn over and brown other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Discard all but 1 tbsp. fat from frying pan and re- duce heat to medium. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, about 30 seconds. Add tangerine peels and sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until mixture bubbles and thickens, about 2 minutes.
Set chicken, skin side up, in frying pan (don’t spoon sauce on top, or you’ll lose the crisp skin). Roast in oven until meat is no longer pink at bone, 10 to 15 minutes. Scatter green onion and basil over chicken. Toss gently and serve immediately.