Orange Chicken

I’ll spare you the “it’s been awhile and here’s my excuse as to why”… safe to say I still need to work on a normal routine! Anyway on to the topic at hand, Orange Chicken. Orange Chicken is by far my favorite item on a Chinese food menu and in a pinch I will definitely grab a bag of frozen Orange Chicken at Trader Joe’s (not ashamed to admit this). I found a recipe on a blog called Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, and it looked like she adapted her recipe from Cooks Illustrated. My recipe is an adaptation of her recipe. This recipe takes a bit of time to create, I would allow almost an hour to hour and a half to cook from start to finish. It’s definitely healthier than ordering out, but unfortunately is a lot more time-consuming.

Orange Chicken (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated/Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

Ingredients:

Marinade/Sauce

1 1/2-2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
2 teaspoons grated zest
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons cold water

For Coating
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup canola oil

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan combine the chicken stock, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper.  Whisk thoroughly
2. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken to the bag then seal and refrigerate for no longer than 30 minutes
3. Heat the remaining sauce in the pan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil
4. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, mixing to dissolve the cornstarch
5. Once the sauce reaches a boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture
6. Simmer the sauce until thick and translucent, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and set aside while you make the chicken
7. Preheat oven to 500 F.
8. In a shallow bowl add the egg whites and beat with a fork until they’re frothy and broken up
9. In a second shallow bowl,  combine the cornstarch and flour
10. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and drain to remove the marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels
11. Add the chicken to the egg whites, turning to coat on all sides
12. Place the chicken in the cornstarch/flour mixture and toss to coat.  Shake off the excess and place the chicken on a plate
13. Repeat with all of the chicken pieces
14. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the preheated oven for 5 minutes
15. Remove the sheet, add the oil and return to the oven until the oil just starts smoking
16. Remove the baking sheet and add the chicken pieces in a single layer.  Cook for 7 minutes
17. Flip each piece of chicken over and cook on the other side until browned and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes
18. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil
19. Reheat the sauce and add the chicken, stirring to coat
20. Serve with white rice, and a garnish of green onion if you wish

Chipotle Orange Chicken

If you haven’t heard of the Homesick Texan, I urge you to go check her blog out. (She’s totally famous and really doesn’t need an extra endorsement but still). It’s beyond tacos, burritos and your typical tex mex. She has all sorts of recipes ranging from Mexican to barbecue and a few unique inbetweeners. When I was browsing through her blog the other week I came across this recipe for chipotle-orange glazed drumsticks. This recipe was very easy to make, and great for a large group of people. The sauce recipe makes more than enough to both coat the chicken and have extra on the side. I’ve made this recipe twice in the past week and a half, and it was a total hit both times.

Chipotle Orange Chicken Pieces (adapted from The Homesick Texan)

Ingredients:
6 drumsticks
6 thighs
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 chipotle chiles en adobo
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cups ketchup
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of ground allspice
1 teaspoon orange zest

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, place on the sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

2. While the chicken is in the oven, in a food processor mix together the orange juice, chipotle chile and garlic.

3. Pour into a large saucepot and stir in the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and allspice. Bring to a boil (it will likely splatter a bit), turn the heat down to medium-low and while stirring occasionally.

4. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until thickened. Adjust seasonings and add salt to taste.

5. Once the chicken pieces are done, remove from the oven and turn on the broiler. Add the chicken to the saucepot and toss with the chipotle orange sauce.

6. Replace the parchment paper on the baking sheet and place chicken pieces back on the sheet. Cook under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until darkened and brown spots appear.

7. Cool and serve!