Orange Chicken

Last night I pulled together and made a truly amazing main course. I hadn’t realized how quickly it would be ready, so I completely forgot to make the side dish of veggie fried rice. Oops!

Well, before I could even get two bites into my own mouth, Jason was nearly finished with his plate. I asked if he wanted me to make some Minute Rice, and he replied “Nope, I’m very content. This was really good.” I beamed. 😀

Here is my recipe for Orange Chicken. I was browsing through a few highly-ranked recipes online and read through some of the most helpful of the comments. I sorted through it all in my head, implemented some of the suggested changes, and made a couple of changes of my own (because I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients that I didn’t realize I’d need). As I said, it turned out fabulous, but I’ll tell you what changes I made so that you can switch it back if you’d like.

Step 1: Heat about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large pan. Saute 4-6 chicken breasts in the oil until cooked through.

Step 2: Combine the following into a medium-sized saucepan:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (I didn’t have the usual rice wine vinegar, so I substituted apple cider vinegar, tasted great)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (I prefer to make curls out of the orange rind because it looks prettier, but to each her own)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (I didn’t have any fresh ginger root to mince, so powdered it is)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion or about 1 small fresh minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste if you like it hotter)

Bring the sauce to a boil. Once the brown sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to a simmer while you make your rice (next step).

Step 3: This is the step that I skipped on my first attempt at this recipe. I didn’t think to make the rice ahead of time and keep it warm, I just didn’t realize the chicken and sauce would be finished so quickly! Anyhow, this would be a fabulous time to make some white rice to mound up on your plate as a nice bed for your saucy chicken. If you’re like me and prefer fried rice, make the white rice ahead of time so it can be ready for you to fry up at this point. Kate at Cooking During Stolen Moments has a really great fried rice recipe. When I use her recipe I swap out the 2 1/2 cups of meat for about the same amount of diced veggies (peas and carrots usually, sometimes some corn for more sweetness even though it’s not an Asian veggie).

Step 4: Turn the heat back up to get the orange sauce good and bubbling again. Stir together 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Once it’s nice and smooth, add it to the sauce and whisk it all together quickly to thicken.

Step 5: This could go one of two ways. Either add the chicken pieces to the orange sauce and stir to coat, or lay the chicken on top of your rice and spoon some sauce over the top. I prefer to do both, coat (to get the chicken warmed back up) and then add more sauce on top of the plate.

Delicious! Good grief I wish I had pictures. I’m going to make this again next week and will definitely take photos to share.

This recipe is linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty & Bedlam. Head over there for lots more recipe inspiration.

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