Better-Than-Take-Out Orange Chicken

A wildly successful Halloween party thrown by my boyfriend’s fraternity on Friday night can only mean one thing: Saturday I’m not doing anything. Legitimately did not leave my bed except to take my dog out and it was glorious. Sadly for y’all, that also meant when Parker and I cooked this phenomenal orange chicken dish, I was too lazy to take pictures. I know, I know… It takes just a few minutes but even that seemed like too much effort. So why didn’t I simply order out for orange chicken? Because this stuff is just simply BETTER than any take-out orange chicken I’ve ever had. Besides, I had most of the ingredients already in my fridge! Again, one of the perks to buying protein and freezing them.

Better-than-Take-Out Orange Chicken: Serves 2-3 (in our case 2, and we demolished this and the rice we made along with it!) This recipe and pictures comes from the Cooking Classy food blog!

Ingredients:

  • 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 (zest of 1 1/2 fairly large oranges)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger
  • 2 Tbsp grated yellow onion (be sure to get some of the juices when measuring)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (optional – I didn’t want it to be spicy so I left it out)
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 2 large eggs
  • vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
  • chopped green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish (optional, but encouraged! I live for green onions)

Instructions:

  • Place chicken pieces in a gallon size resealable bag, set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan combine chicken broth, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, granulated sugar, ginger, yellow onion, garlic, Sriracha and pepper.
  • Whisk mixture well, then measure out 2/3 cup of the mixture and pour it over the chicken in resealable bag. S
  • eal bag while pressing excess air out, and press chicken into marinade.
  • Place bag in a bowl or baking dish and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, return remaining sauce mixture over medium heat and bring mixture just to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water then stir mixture into sauce.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 – 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until thickened, remove from heat.
  • Pour vegetable oil into a large cast iron dutch oven, filling pot about 1 1/2 – 2-inches deep and heat oil to 350 degrees.
  • Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a shallow dish until well blended.
  • Pour remaining 1 1/4 cups cornstarch into a separate shallow dish.
  • Remove chicken from refrigerator and drain and discard marinade from chicken.
  • Dip chicken pieces into egg followed by cornstarch and toss pieces to evenly coat in cornstarch, then carefully place 1/3 of the chicken pieces into preheated oil and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until golden, turning once during cooking.
  • Using skimmer, remove fried chicken from oil and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil.
  • Repeat process with remaining chicken working in two more batches.
  • Pour drained fried chicken into a bowl and toss with sauce.
  • Serve warm over white or brown rice garnished with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.

And yes, ours did turn out just like the picture! Very easy to make – even if working with cornstarch is one of the messiest things I’ve ever done! Parker and I curled up on the couch and finished the third season of Breaking Bad while my corgi (and oddly enough my roommate’s cat) tried desperately hard to lick the leftover orange chicken from our plates. Not the fanciest of date nights, but these nights are my favorite, hands down. Hope everyone had a great weekend, and I wish you a week of happy eating!

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