As I come across new recipes, I tuck them into my “Recipes To Try” file. When I’m ready to try a new dish, I grab the file, sift through the papers, index cards, and magazine pages to see if I can find a new recipe to rave about.
Last week, I found a promising chicken recipe hiding out in the file. According to the notes I had scribbled on the page, I printed the Orange Chicken recipe from Allrecipes.com over 2 years ago! After tasting the chicken, I was very sorry I had waited so long to prepare it.
The recipe took a little bit of prep time, but it was well worth the effort as the sauce was amazing and every morsel of chicken was bursting with citrusy goodness! Orange Chicken now has a permanent home in the Favorite Recipes file. Though I usually don’t serve the same dish more than once a month, this one was so yummy that it will probably make another appearance next week!
When preparing the sauce, I used chicken broth instead of water and freshly squeezed orange juice because I knew both would yield more flavor. I wasn’t thrilled with the appearance my orange’s peel, so I didn’t zest the orange but used a teaspoon of orange marmalade instead. This was a good substitute as the marmalade included bits of orange peel and gave the sauce a bit of texture. I omitted the red pepper flakes because I thought it might be too hot for the girls. After all of my changes, I ended up with a delicious sauce that was quite orangy, but not overpowering. If you’re concerned about an orange overdose, simply taste the sauce before you add the zest. If the orange element suits you, don’t add the orange zest.
When preparing the chicken, I salted and peppered the flour mixture according to my personal tastes. I also dipped the chicken into a beaten egg before coating it with flour. I wanted to make sure the chicken got a crispy coating and I was concerned that the breading would get soggy or fall off while simmering in the sauce. In end, my fear of soggy chicken prevented me from allowing it to simmer in the sauce. Instead I poured the sauce over the chicken once it was already plated.
When finalizing the sauce under assembly, I thought 3 tablespoons of cornstarch was way too much, so I used one tablespoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of water. This thickened the sauce sufficiently for me.
1 1/2 cups water (I use chicken broth.)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pour chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to the resealable bag, seal the bag, and shake to coat the chicken pieces thoroughly.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Photo: Courtesy of Starry Eyed Ali (Flickr)
© 2009, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.
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