I will never forget that conversation. I was sitting at lunch with a colleague and she was telling me how she was a Food Network junkie. I laughed at her. I could not believe someone would actually enjoy watching a television program of someone cooking. So one Saturday morning, just for a lark, I decided to watch the Food Network. I’ve not been the same since.
What I liked about the Food Network, and especially the shows of a few years past, is that it educated me on various types of foods, taught me technique and challenged me to try new recipes and to experiment in the kitchen. The Food Network made me an accidental “foodie” and there’s not turning back now.
I used to really like Robin Miller’s show, but it’s no longer on the network. I’m a big fan of Ina and Giada and I also like Melissa D’Arabian. And it is my testing of one of Melissa’s recipes that is the subject of the blog today. She called the recipe “Crispy Chicken a l’Orange” and it is from her book Ten Dollar Dinners. I first saw the recipe on one of her shows, and it is listed on the Food Network website for free, so I’m pretty sure I’m not breaking any copyright laws by sharing this with you. I am always looking for different ways to make chicken and this recipe intrigued me, so I thought I’d try it. Here is my rating and lessons learned from making it.
Rating A- the main reason I give it a minus is that the sauce is tricky. By that I mean it is a combination of frozen orange juice concentrate and honey. The tricky part is cooking this in the oven and not getting a pan that has burnt-on honey all over it, making it a nightmare to clean. I haven’t quite figured out how to avoid that. I make this recipe in a well seasoned cast iron skillet and I still have a difficult time cleaning my pan. Maybe it’s my fault. The recipe calls to brown the meat in a skillet and then transfer it to a baking dish. By using the cast iron pan I tried to do this as a one-stop shop and brown the meat and cook it all in one pot. Maybe next time I’ll try what the recipe recommends and see if that makes a difference with the clean up.
Lesson Learned 1: Brown the chicken skin side down for at least five minutes. Resist the temptation to move it around. Just let it stay in one place. After 5 minutes on medium-high heat you should have nicely browned skin and will continue to brown in the oven. (see the picture above).
Lesson Learned 2: Make sure the chicken is patted very dry before you begin to brown it. If it is moist it won’t brown.
Lesson Learned 3: It is very important to let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes after cooking as called for in the recipe. The chicken comes out very juicy if you do it that way. Other than that there are really no other tips I can give you about this recipe. It is relatively easy to make. You get great flavor without a lot of work. The only challenge for me so far is the clean up.
When I get a thumbs up from my husband I know a recipe is a keeper. This got two thumbs up on this one. I served this with parmesan oven roasted asparagus and my pesto orzo with roasted red peppers and olives (pictured at the bottom). So try it, I’m sure you’ll find this recipe to be a keeper as well.
CRISPY CHICKEN A L’ORANGE (EASY ORANGE CHICKEN)
Easy Orange Chicken
Skin on chicken breast (the recipe calls for bone-in but I did mine boneless and it was delicious)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 TBS. vegetable oil
1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 375. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and seat the chicken skin side down until brown and beginning to crisp – about 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan bring the orange juice concentrate honey and a dash of salt and pepper to a boil. Cook until syrupy (about 3 minutes).
Transfer chicken skin side up to a baking dish and drizzle with half of the orange juice mixture. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the internal temperature is between 160 and 170. After the chicken has been in the oven for about 15 minutes, drizzle the remaining orange juice mixture on it. When cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes.