Chinese Orange Chicken

At the moment, chicken seems to be the most affordable protein out there.   We've always eaten a lot of it, but now it can be as much as 2x a week.  Unfortunately, Jake's school has seemed to come to the same conclusion, and it's on the menu there 2 to 3x a week also.  I've got zillions of chicken recipes saved, and when I went looking for a fried Chinese style dish, this one popped right up. 

Few minor changes to the ingredients- dried onions for the fresh, fresh ginger for the dried.    My orange juice had been squeezed a while back and frozen in ice cube trays, and the zest was long gone, used in another dish.   I used Penzey's dried zest instead.

I made a critical error with this, trying to save myself time-  I dipped all the chicken in the egg, then added it to a resealable bag with the cornstarch and gave it a shake.    The problem was, as the chicken sat waiting it's turn in the hot oil, the pieces all clumped together and the egg seeped through.    I had to remove them a few at a time, unclump them, and then give them another dust of the cornstarch.   This made the coating on mine very very thick and they took a little while longer to cook through. 

The end result was I loved the entire dish, sauce and chicken.   My husband thought the sauce was good and the chicken coating was too heavy.    Jake ate the chicken, tried a tiny bit of the sauce and declined to use it (not surprising though, he doesn't like many sauces).     I definitely would make this again for a Saturday date day meal.      I had the leftovers for lunch today and it reheated well.

Thank you so much to Jaclyn at Cooking Classy for this great meal.  Be sure to go check out her photos, and the rest of her site, I've got at least 10 more recipes on my to-try list from there.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Chinese Orange Chicken

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/2            lbs  boneless skinless -- chicken breast halves, diced into 1 - 1 1/2-inch pieces
  1                cup  low-sodium chicken broth
  1               Tbsp  finely grated orange zest (used Penzey's dried)
     1/2           cup  freshly squeezed orange juice- used storebought
     1/3           cup  white vinegar
     1/4           cup  soy sauce
     2/3           cup  granulated sugar
     1           tsp  fresh grated ginger
1Tablespoon dried Penzey's minced onion
  2             cloves  garlic -- finely minced- used jarred
  1                tsp  Sriracha hot sauce (optional- I used it)
                        Freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
  1 1/4           cups  + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  2               Tbsp  cold water
  2              large  eggs
                        vegetable oil -- for frying

Combine broth, orange zest, juice, vinegar, soy sugar, ginger, onion garlic, hot sauce and fresh black pepper to a medium saucepan.   Whisk to combine.   Place chicken into a resealable bag.   Remove 2/3c of sauce ingredients from saucepan and pour over the chicken.   Push all the air out of the bag, seal and then squish the chicken around to distribute the marinade evenly.    Refrigerate for 30 mins. 

Heat remaining sauce over medium heat until it just reaches a boil, stirring frequently.   Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water.   Stir into the sauce mixture.   Reduce the heat and cook about 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until sauce is thickened.    Take the sauce off the heat.

Heat 2" oil for frying in a large dutch oven to 350 degrees.   In a cake pan, beat eggs until well blended.   In a second cake pan, add 1 1/4c cornstarch.    Drain and discard marinade from chicken.  Dip about 1/3 of the chicken pieces into the egg, dredge in the cornstarch and then fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown.   Let drain on towel lined platter.    Repeat with the remainder of the chicken.      Toss chicken with sauce in a large bowl until well coated.    

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