Sunday, April 7, 2013

Crispy Orange Chicken

Today's Topic of Discussion: Trader Joe's. 
I can wander those healthy aisles for hours on end. Every time my papa and I go shopping there I always try something new, and have yet to run out of things. I know a common complaint of TJ's is that from time to time they will discontinue an item. Let's take a moment of silence for some classic - the cheese and veggie burrito, milk chocolate butter biscuit, rolled chicken tacos and numerous others which have been sacrificed for that sake of new products. See, the thing is, Joe promises to be continually creative by releasing a handful of new products every week. While that is absolutely fabulous, it means eliminating a few products, too. It's a give and take. You can never risk depending too heavily on one product, or becoming too enamored for fear it will be the next victim. TJ's knows how to keep us coming back.

Why you discontinue my favorite things?!?!?!?!

 Anyways. Trader Joe's makes this incredible chicken that has thus far stood the test of time. It's been in stores as long as I've been going. Orange Chicken. Yum. Perfectly crispy when baked with the right amount of sauce, so you have enough to shmear over some rice or pasta. It's pre-cooked, so I always remove the smallest pieces while I'm waiting for the rest to bake and nom on those. I've been in love with the orange chicken for a while now, but I recently started paying more attention to having a balanced, healthy diet.  Now, I bake almost weekly, so I'm not all too mindful of sweets (especially with Easter!). However, I've become increasingly interested in baking things instead of frying. Also, I found Panko crumbs. So. Lots of fun in the kitchen. 

Oven Temp: 450 F
Bake Time: ~15 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes (+ 2 hr for marinating)
Ready-In: 3 hours

1 1/2 cups water 
1/3 cup orange juice 

1/3 cup lemon juice  
1/3 cup rice vinegar 
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 tablespoon grated orange zest 
1 cup packed brown sugar  
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
3 tablespoons cornstarch 

3 chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbls salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup panko crumbs

Pour water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan on medium-high heat. 

Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil for one minute, then remove from thy heat and leave it alone until it cools for about 15 minutes. 

Once it has good and properly cooled, pour 3/4 to 1 cup into a resealable plastic bag. Save the rest of the sauce for later. Insert chicken into the bag, seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

Raw chicken; never photogenic

Preheat oven to 450 F.
In another resealable plastic bag, mix the panko crumbs, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake like a maraca to coat.
Lay a wired cooling rack over a baking sheet. Spray with cooking oil. Place now-pankoed chicken on the rack. Bake for about 15 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

Recommended - rotate sheet half way through for even cooking.
Let cool. In the meantime, gently heat extra sauce, stir in cornstarch to thicken. Immediately before serving, pour sauce over chicken (or serve as a side dipping sauce). 

No comments:

Post a Comment