Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week 1, Day 2: Applebee's Crispy Orange Chicken Skillet

Tonight's dinner recipe comes from a cookbook Katie gave me for my birthday, America's Most Wanted Recipes: Copycat Versions of Everyone's Best-Loved Food. This is one of Adam's favorite things to order when we go to Applebee's, so this was one of the first recipes he chose as we were looking for things to add to the schedule.

Crispy Orange Chicken Skillet

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
oil, for frying

1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the egg, salt, pepper, and the 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Mix well and set aside.
2. Stir the four and cornstarch together in another large bowl until mixed well. Add the chicken to the flour mixture, and coat each piece well.
3. Pour about 1/2 inch of oil into a heavy skillet and set over high heat. When the temperature reaches 375 degrees, carefully add the chicken pieces in small batches and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned and crunchy.
4. Carefully remove the chicken from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue frying the chicken until all the pieces are nicely browned and crisp. Set aside.
5. To make the glaze, allow the oil in the skillet to cool slightly, then remove all but 2 tbsp of the oil and put the skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic for 1 minute; do not burn.
6. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. Arrange the chicken on a platter, pour the glaze over the chicken and serve.

In the description of the recipe it says, "It's perfect over almond rice pilaf and a tasty mix of mushrooms, broccoli, red peppers, sugar snap peas, and shredded carrots." Well, the recipe didn't include all that necessarily, but that's what makes it "perfect," so that's what we had.

I used Paula Deen's Almond Rice Pilaf recipe (excellent, btw), and stir-fried the vegetables in a little oil.

The Verdict: 2 thumbs up, 1 thumb medium, 2 thumbs down. Everything but the sauce got a thumbs up from everyone, but the sauce wasn't Adam's or my favorite. It had too strong of a flavor. Next time I make orange chicken, I'll probably use this breading, it worked really well and was really tasty. But I'll use the sauce we know we like: the Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce from the bottle you can buy at the grocery store.


The Yoder's Four said...

You can buy Panda Express orange chicken sauce at the grocery store???!??! I NEED SOME!!!

Rachel said...

Actually, Melissa, you can get it at Costco, too, apparently. Adam came home with two GIANT bottles of it yesterday!

Hippy Goodwife said...

This looks really good!