In the world of family cooking, unless you’re a vege/pesca/non-chicken-eating/atarian, you can never have too many easy chicken recipes in your recipe rolodex.
Do they even make rolodexes anymore? Apparently, yes!
This family favorite chicken dinner recipe combines the classic Asian ying and yang of spicy and sweet.
Spicy and sweet, just like me. Or maybe that’s just how I see myself in my own mind? It’s quite possible. I’ll ask my husband. Wait. Scratch that. I’ll just keep the visions to myself.
Orange chicken. The thought of it brings childhood memories of takeout boxes filled with chunks of chicken glazed in a sweet orange sauce that left me craving more. A memory to be dashed by my adult realization that those chicken particles were most often barely distinguishable mini poultry pieces overtaken by clumpy, fried nuggets in a too sweet, what’s-in-the-mystery sauce?
In fact, Smudge ordered orange chicken the other day at lunch. I was eager with anticipation for her lunch to arrive so I could per usual steal a bite of hers before even tasting my own. I know, it’s a terrible habit I have.
Then it arrived. And my excitement flip-flopped to disappointment with the first taste. No ying. No yang. Just hard, crusty clumps of over-fried chicken in an odd-ly orange-ish (was it even made with real ingredients?) sauce.
No more, I declared. From now on, we stick to our homemade, baked rather than fried version.
About the Recipe
Today’s landscape is all about eating seasonal and with winter soon to arrive we’re moving into the months that bear the best that citrus has to offer. This recipe calls for juice squeezed from fresh oranges for ultimate citrus flavor. If you must use a pre-made juice in the interest of time or patience, please choose a high quality juice rather than a frozen concentrate.
I make this recipe with skinless, boneless chicken thighs. They’re juicy, tender and pair well with the sauce. I skip the skin because while some recipes benefit from chicken with the skin’s crispy texture, the chicken in this recipe is cooked in the sauce. So if you used chicken with the skin it has a tendency to turn into a mushy liner and isn’t really needed in my opinion.
I prefer to use a garlic press for my garlic and a grater for my ginger rather than mincing. I feel it spreads the flavors through the sauce better this way, but if you prefer to mince (like my husband did this time for the photos), go for it.
I use a zester like this one for making the skinny orange pieces for garnish. It’s great for cocktails too.
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and frehly ground balck pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, from about 3-4 oranges
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 heaping tablespoons orange zest
- 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- Cilantro leaves and additional sliced orange for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season the chicken thighs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Place half of the chicken thighs in the pan and sear both sides of the chicken until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining thighs.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour into the same pan and cook the sauce over medium heat and cook until reduced by a third. Add the chicken back to the pan and and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the fry pan and transfer to a serving platter, reserving the glaze in the pan. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil to keep warm. Cook the glaze over medium heat until the sauce is reduced by another third. Drizzle over the chicken and garnish with cilantro and sliced oranges if desired.
As we have each month, Becky of The Vintage Mixer has amassed a group of us who are posting #eatseasonal recipes today. Some are some are sweet, some are savory and they’re all in season now. They’re all good and they’re all seasonal and are listed below. Follow the #eatseasonal hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to discover more seasonal eats.
Pomegranate Yogurt Bowls by Mountain Mama Cooks
Persimmon Pumpkin Tart with Streusel Top by Suitcase Foodist
Kale Salad with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Orange by Flavor the Moments
Meyer Lemon Cottage Cheese Sugar Cookies by Food for My Family
Christmas Stollen Madeleines with Preserved Lemon by Simple Bites
Avocado Toast with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Fennel by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash Cake with Roasted Apples and Spiced Cream by Vintage Mixer
Persimmon Tart with Pecan Crust by Letty’s Kitchen
Cabbage Slaw with Honey Lime Yogurt Vinaigrette by The Lemon Bowl
Roasted Persimmon Butter by Cafe Johnsonia
Lemon Poppyseed Baked Oatmeal by Project Domestication
Persimmon Apple Crumb Pie by Kitchen Confidante
Thanks for stopping by. Cheers to getting in the kitchen to cook something seasonal—and good!
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