A couple of weeks ago we went out for Chinese food to a place we'd never gone before and ordered pineapple chicken and to both our amazement and amusement, the dish was served in a huge hollowed-out pineapple half! We oohed and aahed and took pictures with our phones of course and for a brief moment, all of the other diners stopped eating and stared at this lovely spectacle,(yes, it was our 15 minutes of fame!) It also turned out to be totally delicious too. So when I came across this recipe for Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken I knew I had to give it a try. And I'm so glad I did--Chinese "take-in" never had it so good!
Are you a pineapple person? I really really love it in every form but strangely I just don't eat it that often. Well, that my friends, is going to stop now--I believe you will be seeing a lot more pineapple on these pages from now on! But back to this wonderful dish--there's just something about the sweet and sour thing that's so appealing--really hits the bliss point. And it's pretty easy to make too-definitely doable on a normal weeknight (not when you're running out to a band concert with soccer in between) but for those nights when things are reasonably calm.
First you coat the chicken pieces in cornstarch and egg and fry them for a few minutes until the coating is golden brown.
Next you transfer them to a baking dish, cover them with a sauce made of sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and some spices, toss in the pineapple and peppers and bake the whole thing for an hour or so. It's pretty easy and while the chicken is cooking you can make some rice which works perfectly to sop up all of that sweet sticky sauce!
The chicken is tender with a crunchy coating, the pineapple and peppers soft and juicy and the sauce is tangy,sweet and finger-lickin good! A real treat! Everyone loved it and the only disappointment was the lack of a pineapple boat--sorry guys, I'm just a little bit too lazy for that!! Gotta give my husband an incentive to take us out now and then, right?!!
Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Cook Time: 1 hour
For the chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) cut up into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
For the Sauce
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Veggies
2 red peppers, seeded and cut into large bite-size chunks
1 20 ounce can pineapple in natural juices (drained)
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with vegetable cooking spray and set aside.
2. For the chicken: Place cornstarch in one bowl and beaten eggs in another. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and dip first in cornstarch and then eggs to coat. Transfer to a plate.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add coated chicken pieces and cook for a few minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches. When drained, arrange in a single layer in prepared baking dish.
4. For the Sauce: Mix together the sugar, ketchup, both vinegars, soy sauce, garlic salt and cornstarch in a bowl. Add the peppers and the pineapple to the chicken in the dish and then pour the mixture over all of it. Stir to coat and bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Serve immediately as is or with rice or pasta.
5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days and are great cold or reheated in the microwave or oven.
Note: Recipe adapted from http://therecipecritic.com/2014/02/baked-sweet-sour-chicken-peppers-pineapple/. I cut the amount of garlic salt and only used red peppers.