After a week off from school resting her tired brain and body, I'm happy to report that not all learning was abandoned and that I taught my daughter one important piece of knowledge that she hasn't yet learned in school--orange + honey= fantastic chicken! And while of course I want her to learn higher math and world history, there's a little part of me that thinks this home lesson may prove more useful over time, than say, proving two isosceles triangles congruent. This sweet and tangy chicken gets an A+ and is a great way to start out the week.
Figuring out new ways to cook chicken is one of my life's missions, because really, how many breaded chicken cutlets can you make before you start to go completely out of your mind?! I think that for about the first 10 years of my middle guy's life, he ate at least one every night! Now that my family is more accepting of new tastes, it's fun to mix it up and try new things and this chicken with its slightly spicy but also sweet glaze is anything but boring! Think tender chicken with a sort of Asian inspired glaze that will definitely leave you with sticky fingers!
My daughter loved it and it's a lesson she hopes I repeat over and over again!
Orange-Honey Glazed Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: About 1 hour
1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice, divided
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons honey
1/2- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (use the higher amount if you're a mustard lover)
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
1 shake red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts (between 3-4 pounds)--You could also use chicken thighs but you will probably need to reduce the cooking time
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, corn syrup, honey, mustard, vinegar, pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Then coat once piece of chicken at a time with the flour, shaking off the excess. Place on a plate.
4. In a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet (this is a great time to use a cast-iron pan if you have one) heat the oil over medium-high heat until barely smoking. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
5. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the oil from the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add the shallot and cook until softened for a couple of minutes. Then turn the heat up high and add the orange juice mixture. Let the mixture simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until syrupy and thickened and reduced to about 1 cup of liquid. Place the chicken back into the skillet and use a tongs to turn the pieces over so that they are coated in the sauce. Then turn them skin-side down.
6. Place the skillet into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, then turn the chicken skin-side up and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until chicken is fully cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a platter.
7. Place the skillet back on the burners and turn the heat up to high--careful because the pan handle will be very hot. Let the glaze cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly, until it's very thick. Whisk in the remaining orange juice. Spoon the glaze over the chicken and serve immediately.
8. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the oven.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Best Chicken Recipes by Cook's Illustrated. I tinkered around with some of the measurements a bit, cutting down on the mustard and salt.