Orange Chicken Redux
Adaptability. The need for it comes in small and large ways. With two aging oranges in the fruit bowl the chicken in the freezer was calling to be joined with them. My original idea was to make a stir fry, with the sauce caramelizing around the meat and veggies, trickling down into the rice and filling every bite with a sweet spiciness. In the end, the dish was delicious, but only after a bit of adapting. I pulled the chicken out of the fridge when it came time to make dinner. Arghh! Still frozen! Since I hate defrosting meats in the microwave – it always partially cooks it and encourages rubberiness – my options were to wait way too long to start dinner, make something else, or switch up the recipe. I decided to (sigh) bake the chicken instead of stir fry. Not the end of the world, but not exactly the plan. I jumped in and went with the flow. I am including directions for what I did (redux) and what I meant to do (original). In the end it turned out yummy with a slow heat from the sauce.
4 chicken thighs, skinned and deboned (redux version used chicken with skin and bone intact)
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 oranges, juiced with meat
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 garlic clove, diced
½ medium onion, julienned
4 cups stir fry vegetables (snow peas, carrots, cauliflower, watercress, etc)
Mix chili flakes, chili sauce, teriyaki sauce and orange juice. Set aside. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, sprinkling it with salt to taste. Heat oil in wok at medium high heat. Add garlic to oil until browning begins. Add chicken and cook until half cooked. Add onions until they begin sweating. Add remaining vegetables and until almost done, covering if needed to speed up cooking. Turn up heat, add sauce and continue cooking and tossing until chicken is cooked and veggies are desired crispness. Serve over rice or noodles.
Heat oven to 350F. In a small bowl combine ½ the oil, all the chili flakes, chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, orange juice and garlic. Set aside. Arrange onions in the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish. Season chicken with salt and arrange on top of the onions. Pour sauce over chicken, making sure it runs over all the meat. Bake in oven for 45 minutes until juices run clear. Heat remaining oil in wok over medium high heat and toss until vegetables begin sweating. Turn heat to high. Draw about one cup of juices from the chicken dish and add to the vegetables. Toss the vegetables and sauce until they are done and the sauce thickens. Serve chicken, vegetables and sauce over a bed of rice or noodles.