Orange Chicken

Along with baking lots of tasty sweets, hubs has been on a roll with Cooks Illustrated recipes. Anything he wants to make, he looks it up on their website for a recipe. I don’t like to be too dependent on one source for recipes, but they dotaste good.Since we don’t have a deep fryer, we used the dutch oven with a candy thermometer attached to the side. The oil took a really long time to heat up, so I cranked up the burner, which then made the temperature sky rocket to over 400 degrees. As a frying novice, I wasn’t sure how important it was to have the oil at the correct temperature. I had horrible visions of burning the chicken, splattering oil everywhere, and trying to put out a grease fire in the kitchen. Luckily, none of those things happened.

I have never been a fan of deep frying at home, although after tasting this dish, I may be a convert. The chicken was light, perfectly cooked, and didn’t taste at all greasy. The sauce was pungent with orange and chili, and not too sweet. Hubs had a slightly glazed look as he ate, as if in a euphoric food stupor. Guess we may branch out in our deep frying ventures.

Orange Chicken
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
May 2005

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 c low sodium chicken broth
3/4 c orange juice
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest, plus 8 2-inch strips of peel
6 Tbs white vinegar
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs plus 2 tsp corn starch
2 Tbs cold water
4 small whole dried red chiles, or 1 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)

3 large egg whites
1 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c peanut oil

Place chicken in a 1 gallon resealable bag. Combine broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in a large saucepan. Whisk until sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 c of the mixture and pour into the bag with the chicken. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Chill for 30-60 minutes, but no longer.

Bring remaining mixture to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and cold water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in orange peel and chiles. Set aside.

Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Using a fork, beat until frothy. In a second dish, mix the cornstarch, cayenne, and baking soda until combined. Drain chicken in a colander; pat dry. Place half of chicken in the egg whites, coating completely. Transfer pieces to cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place dredged chicken pieces on a wire rack set over baking sheet; repeat with remaining chicken.

Heat oil in a dutch oven or a straight sided saute pan over high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees. Carefully place chicken in oil. Fry in 2 batches until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning pieces halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to a large plate lined with paper towels. Let oil return to 350 degrees between batches.

Reheat sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.


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Sweet Comments:

  1. I just have to say, this looks AMAZING. Granted, I’m used to cheap and easy carryout orange chicken so I’m sure your version is MUCH better…. but still. I’m craving this right now.

  2. Orange chicken sounds so exciting…and looks delish!

  3. Mmm, I love orange chicken, this one looks way better than any take out one! Lovely!

  4. Looks & sounds delicious, reminds me of the chinese crispy beef dish I make. May have to try this one soon.

  5. I’ve made this recipe and it’s amazing! Beautiful photo and it really is way better than any fast food chain or restaurant!

  6. yummm. that picture is making me drool!

  7. Your orange chicken looks delicious! I am trying it next week!

  8. Yummy!! I made this for dinner tonight, and it turned out soooo well! Really delicious, thanks!!

  9. It turned out delicious!!!! I was not expecting such nice results.

  10. Delicious. I don’t usually order orange chicken when I’m out and tonight I was in the mood for something different. I pan fried the chicken in a little different dredge but it was amazing. Thanks much

  11. About how long would you say this takes to make?

  12. About how long would you say this takes to make?

  13. Samantha, including prep time, I’d say about 45 minutes. The frying doesn’t take very long, but getting the chicken cut and coated is a little time consuming. It’s definitely worth the effort, though.


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