I love Orange Chicken. That nice glaze and sauce are yummy. But my efforts at recreating it have largely been edible flops. When I hit the Internet for recipe ideas, I found a lot of them called for using orange marmalade. Basically you coat the chicken with the orange marmalade and bake. I bet it's delicious but where's the sauce for the rice?
As I continued to peruse recipes, I found several that were what I had in mind. And they were all based on a recipe from one of my favorites - America's Test Kitchen. It was a dead giveaway each time because they all used 1 1/2 cups of orange juice. Of course, most of them gave credit to America's Test Kitchen, and then said they had modified the recipe to suit them. I never did find the original recipe, but the basics were the same, so I winged it with my own version.
I have to admit that it was great. I'll definitely be making it again. Next time I'll try adding a tablespoon of soy sauce for a little bit of saltiness. Otherwise, I wouldn't change much at all. The sauce turns into a lovely thick glaze that clings to the meat. Exactly how it should be. No cornstarch needed! The big plus is that it makes quite a bit of sauce. Too often I find I'm scraping the pan for a little bit more sauce. Not with this recipe! I started with 2 cups of orange juice and reduced it a little bit to boost the orange flavor.
I made this with the weird cut-up chicken available at my grocery store. Weird because it has two breasts (with the bones) and four legs. I'd like to see that chicken! You could make this with just about any chicken parts that you like, even boneless breasts, but watch the cooking time. I was surprised that it only took a little over 20 minutes for the legs to cook. Plan accordingly. Boneless breasts might be done quite fast depending on their thickness.
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (not powder)
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used balsamic but white would do)
2 tablespoons olive oil
flour (about 1/4 cup)
1 chicken cut up or 8 chicken thighs or legs (see note above)
3 tablespoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 400.
Pour the orange juice into a pot and bring to a low boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook without a lid until reduced by one-fourth. Add the corn syrup, garlic, mustard and vinegar and whisk to combine. Simmer.
Heat the oil in an oven-safe pan just large enough to contain all your chicken. Dredge the chicken pieces through the flour and brown in the pan on both sides. Remove the browned chicken from the pan and pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Simmer the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Return the chicken to the pan. Slide the pan into the oven (uncovered). TIP: Hang kitchen mitt on the oven door so you won't be tempted to reach in and grab the pan without it. After 10 minutes, turn the chicken pieces over. Cook another 10 - 20 minutes depending on the cut and thickness of your chicken. (Note, I'm guessing that small boneless chicken breasts might only need 12-15 minutes TOTAL.)
Remove from oven. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest. Meanwhile, add remaining three tablespoons orange juice to the sauce and bring to a simmer for about four minutes. Plate the chicken and pour sauce over it.