For years, I've been searching for the perfect recipe for one of my family's favorite dishes: orange chicken. And then, wouldn't you know it, within a very short period of time, I found not one but three recipes that are quite different from one another, but all of them are simply to die for.
Two of these recipes have an Asian flair; the first is prepared in a slow cooker, the second on the stovetop. The third recipe is an elegant French entree prepared in the oven. If you need to impress, this one's for you! Just don't blow your cover by telling your guests just how easy it is.
SLOW COOKER MONGOLIAN ORANGE CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Place flour and salt in a bowl; mix to combine. Drop chicken pieces into the flour mixture. Toss, and stir until all pieces are well coated. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Pour olive oil into the pan, and brown chicken, turning often.
In another bowl, combine vinegar, ketchup, orange juice concentrate and brown sugar. Stir to mix. Place chicken in the slow cooker, and pour the orange mixture over the top. Apply lid, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve over white rice. Serves 4.
HONEY-ORANGE TERIYAKI CHICKEN
1 cup teriyaki sauce (I use the Mr. Yoshida's brand)
1 cup fresh orange juice (not from concentrate)
Zest of one orange (optional but excellent)
6 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces
In a large bowl, mix the teriyaki sauce, orange juice, zest and honey. Reserve one cup and set aside. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl with the remainder of the teriyaki mixture. Allow to marinade for at least two hours, or overnight.
Remove chicken, and discard marinade. Grill chicken on a grill brushed with olive oil, or saute it in a large pan. Brush chicken occasionally with reserved marinade while cooking. Heat the reserved sauce to boiling and then serve alongside the chicken. Serve with white or fried rice. Serves 4.
CHICKEN A L'ORANGE
8 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 whole (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Heat oven to 425 F. In a shallow roasting pan, toss the shallots with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Cut the chicken into 10 pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts — each halved). In a large bowl, whisk together the marmalade, vinegar, rosemary, remaining tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken; toss to coat.
Place the chicken mixture in the roasting pan, nestling the pieces among the shallots. Bake until chicken is cooked through and browned, and shallots are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with green beans, a fresh green salad and crusty bread. Serves 4-6.
Writing this column has propelled me into a major state of hunger. My only problem is I can't decide which one I'll be making for dinner tonight. I'll bet you're hungry, too. No matter which recipe you choose, you can be sure that you'll be eating very well, and for a fraction of the price of eating out.
Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
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