Honey Garlic Orange Chicken

Photo Copyright © Louise Crosby

Photo Copyright © Louise Crosby

I would have blogged sooner but got distracted by Easter, specifically the fine art of decorating Easter cookies. There are so many things to consider: sugar cookie or shortbread; where to find cute cookie cutters; where to find natural food-grade food colouring; what icing to mix (royal icing with meringue powder seems a good way to go); how to apply the icing (piping bags, nozzles); and finally, the design. I made a first attempt at little chicks and bunnies but had to improvise with cranberry juice for a pink-tinted icing, and turmeric for the yellow chick beak and feet, as I hadn’t yet ordered the natural food colouring from online. The chicks were kind of cute but the bunnies were anemic, a sugar cookie base and plain white icing textured up with shredded coconut for fur.

Although my cookies were lacking in visual impact compared to some I saw, I thought they tasted good and ate a lot. Alas, others told me they were a charming first attempt but too sweet. So back to the drawing board before I can share with you how fun and creative decorating cookies can be. Maybe by Canada Day I can come up with a proud maple leaf.

I was also distracted by spring, and spent a happy afternoon in the yard raking dead leaves and debris left from winter, and packing it into bags for the leaf recycle. Such a simple task, so satisfying and therapeutic after so many months of cold. It was warm, the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds. There is such pleasure in rediscovering the garden. Most shrubs look bedraggled from the ice and snow, but some perennials are poking little green shoots out of the ground, reminding me that a hosta is growing here, a Japanese painted fern is growing there, and not to stomp on them. I floated through the afternoon, not rushed, while the cat turned upsidedown in the sun. Pure bliss.

Much more straightforward than decorating Easter cookies, and easy to put together after you’ve cleaned the yard, is this delicious Honey Garlic Orange Chicken from Lucy Waverman (lucywaverman.com). I used organic, skinless boneless chicken thighs instead of two whole chickens cut into portions. (Boned thighs would also work.) The spices in the flour that coats the chicken get the dish off on a firm flavour footing, while the other ingredients – all strong in their own right – take it to another level. This chicken has become a regular in our household, usually served on some kind of rice or rice-quinoa pilaf to soak up the juices, and a green vegetable or salad on the side. It’s also easy to transport for a potluck. I love Lucy’s recipes; they never let you down.

Honey Garlic Orange Chicken
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel or anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 3-pound chickens cut into 8 portions each, or substitute chicken breasts or thighs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock or water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
Instructions
  1. Combine fennel, allspice, ginger, salt and pepper with flour. Coat chicken pieces with mixture and reserve.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Heat oil in skillet. Add chicken pieces in batches and fry until golden brown on each side - about 3 minutes a side.
  4. Place chicken in 1 or 2 oven-proof baking dishes. Stir together garlic, stock, honey, orange juice, mustard, soy, ginger and lime juice. Pour over chicken and bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and coated with sauce. Sprinkle with mint.
  • Serves: 8

 

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