Friday, April 22, 2011

Orange Chicken

This may look like my previous recipe for three cup chicken, but it is quite different. The interesting thing about this recipe is the short cut method of frying.  With a little oil and a whole lot of heat from your oven, you can make this chicken just as crispy as fried.  However, you must be very careful in sliding the pan of oil in and out of the oven.  I used the bottom pan of the broiler that came with the oven.  This is a good choice if you do not want to mess up a baking sheet and the pan is a little deeper.

The ginger and the fresh orange juice really make a tasty sauce. Also, the measure of cayenne is just right. It is enough to add a little heat while letting the other flavors come through. So, if you are craving Chinese take out, try making this at home instead. To really round out the meal, consider steaming some snap peas or broccoli florets to add to the sauce with the chicken.

Orange Chicken
courtesy of Cooks Illustrated via Tracey's Culinary Adventures

2 tbs cold water
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup and 2 tbs vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1 tbs grated ginger (about 1 inch piece)
1 tbs minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 lbs of chicken tenderloins, diced in 1 1/2 in pieces
1 tbs plus 2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest

Ingredients/for chicken dredge & frying
1/2 cup canola oil
3 egg whites
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

First, you will need a saucepan to mix up the marinade. Mix together orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chicken stock in saucepan.  Continue to mix until brown sugar is evenly distributed.

Take a ladle and spoon out 3/4 of a cup of marinade into a gallon zip lock storage bag. Then add the chicken pieces and seal bag.  Place bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and no longer than 1 hour.

In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water until cornstarch has dissolved.  Place the saucepan of the remaining marinade over medium high heat and let it come to a boil.  Then pour in the cornstarch mixture and whisk.  Let the mixture cook for about 1 minute and remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Take out two plates or pie plates for the coating mix.  In one, beat 3 eggs whites with a fork until frothy.  In the other, sift together flour and cornstarch.

Once the chicken has completed the chilling process, remove the bag of chicken from the fridge.  Pour all of the ingredients into a colander to drain.  Then dry chicken pieces by pressing in a paper towel.

Take each piece of chicken and dredge in egg whites, letting excess drip off.  Then coat in the dry mixture and put all the coated pieces on a plate. Set aside.

Put the empty baking pan inside the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove and pour canola oil into pan. This is where things get a little smoky and very hot, so use caution. Return pan to the oven and set timer for 5 minutes.  When the timer goes off, remove the pan.  Add chicken pieces to the pan, spacing evenly.  Bake in oven for 7 minutes, then turn with tongs and bake the other side of the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn off oven.
Remove pan and take the tongs and put chicken pieces in the pan with the sauce. Place pan over medium heat and stir, making sure all the chicken is evenly coated.  The sauce should reach the desired temperature again after 3 minutes.  In the meantime, cook up some minute rice according to directions.

Ladle chicken and sauce over the rice to serve. Enjoy!