Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chicken with Oranges

Chicken with Oranges over Rice
Try Chicken with Oranges Over Rice
Recipe adapted from old magazine clipping

Does anyone else have a box of old recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines in the 90s, 80s, and before? I’ve got a giant box, and the unending project of re-evaluating the recipes one by one and putting them into a binder by type. Some of these retro recipes have readily-available modern counterparts, others seem odd and dated. But some are pure treasures, reflections of simpler times before ingredients like balsamic vinegars and fresh herbs were available year round at the local grocery store. Chicken with oranges is one such recipe, combining sweet and savory with a touch of salt and green herb, featuring the fresh taste of orange.

Just Chicken with Oranges on Plate
Chicken with Oranges a la Carte
Although the oranges make this a good winter recipe, it’s also perfect for early spring while we still have plentiful oranges, but peas and asparagus haven’t started coming in.  It’s ideal to use two varieties of oranges: one for juice and one for the sections. Valencia or “Florida juice” oranges are good juicy choices. You’ll need about 3 to make 1 cup of juice, but get an extra or two in case they’re dry. Navel oranges, per the original recipe, are best for sections because they’re seedless, sweet, and hold up well to cooking. For best results, remove as much white rind and fibers from the outside and inside the Navel oranges as possible.

Oranges, orange juice, dried basil, garlic, ginger, white vinegar
Use These Plus Chicken
The original recipe calls for white vinegar and dried basil, and the flavor is perfectly balanced without “upgrading” these to more expensive ingredients. The oil type is not specified in the original recipe. A high heat oil is best for browning the chicken; I used organic canola (non-organic canola contains GMOs), but peanut could be substituted. Light flavored olive oil, a medium-high heat oil, can be used in a pinch. I reduced the amount of oil by half, feel free to add some more as needed. I also modernized the meat to boneless, skinless chicken thighs; feel free to use the old-school equivalent—in that case go for the larger quantity and drain off most of the oil before adding the orange juice.

Chicken with Oranges in Frying Pan with Sauce
Spotlight on Delicious Orange Sauce
Enjoy this retro recipe during the last part of orange season. Try the savory orange juice-based sauce over rice or other grain, or just scooped up with a spoon. This recipe tastes even better the second day, so I’ve planned the quantity for leftovers. You could reduce the amount of chicken and oranges proportionally, if you like.

Chicken with Oranges
serves ~10

Illustration Referred to In Recipe
Cut Up Oranges Like This
1 tbsp. organic canola oil
2½ - 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
4 navel oranges
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. dried basil
4 tsp. white vinegar
1 cup orange juice (from ~3 oranges)
½ tsp. salt
A few grinds of black pepper
Rice or couscous (optional, for serving)

Heat electric frying pan to 375 degrees. Add canola oil and continue heating oil until it shimmers. Add chicken thighs and sauté until brown on one side. Turn to brown second side, and add pressed garlic to frying pan on top of chicken.

When chicken is cooking, peel oranges. Remove white pith and fibers from outside and inside. Break in half along segments, and cut in half crosswise (see illustration). Separate oranges into sections.

When chicken is brown, add ginger, basil, vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper to frying pan. Top with orange sections. Cover and cook over medium heat until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve over rice, couscous, or other grain.

Photo of Yellowed Clipping
Original Recipe: I changed recipe title
because modern Orange Chicken is deep fried

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