Cooking rice in orange juice gives it a little extra kick and adds to the flavor of the dish as a whole.
Recipe: Chicken À L’Orange
A Sweet Take On Chicken And Oranges
When Julia Child began to introduce Americans to classic French cooking in the 1960s, one of her famous dishes was Duck In Orange Sauce, Caneton à l’Orange. A roast duck, decorated with fresh orange segments, is accented with a sauce made of brown duck stock, butter, red wine vinegar, Port or Madeira, orange liqueur, orange peel and some sugar. America became captivated with poultry and orange sauce; and as it’s much easier to cook at home with chicken, many variations of Chicken à L’Orange followed—variously called Chicken In Orange Sauce and Orange Chicken.
This recipe reminds us of the Szechuan Orange Chicken at Chinese restaurants. The chicken isn’t fried and it has almonds instead of hot peppers.* It’s more of a citrus celebration: The rice is also orange-flavored.
*If you like hot pepper, you can add it after you’ve tried the recipe for the first time, either with a fresh chile or with hot red pepper flakes.
There are many variations of Chicken à l’Orange. Some recipes use brown sugar or honey to achieve the sweetness this recipe gets through the orange marmalade. Others add nuances of flavor with powdered ginger, freshly-grated ginger, garlic, onions, lemon juice, lime juice and/or white wine. If you like the general idea, research and try other recipes.
- 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- ¼ cup orange marmalade
- ¼ cup finely-sliced green onions
- Sliced oranges for garnish (cut the whole slices into half moons)
- 1 pound green beans as a side
- 1 tablespoon finely-chopped fresh herb to toss with beans
(thyme, oregano, sage or other favorite)
- Combine rice, orange juice, water and salt in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling; stir once or twice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and stir until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the toasted almonds and set aside.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the chicken breasts; cook until they are brown on both sides. Add the orange marmalade to the skillet and stir to coat the chicken.
- Separately, wash, trim and steam the green beans to “al dente” consistency. Remove and toss with 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces, and add fresh herbs.
- To serve, spoon the rice onto 4 plates and top each with a half chicken breast. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and green onions. Add green beans. Garnish plate with orange slices.
Recipe and recipe image courtesy of RiceSelect.com © 2007. All rights reserved. Additional material
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