Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Orange Mandarin Chicken

When I was growing up, dessert with my dad was sometimes as simple as a can of mandarin oranges, and I have such fond memories of relishing the sweet little oranges with him after dinner.  So the instant I discovered that Whole Foods now makes organic canned mandarin oranges (in pear juice, instead of a heavy syrup), I had to give this recipe a try.

  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 4 Gardein Tuscan chicken breasts (without sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges in pear juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegan chicken broth (such as Imagine)
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the salt and black pepper, and add to the pan; cook for 4 minutes on each side.

2. Meanwhile, drain the oranges over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid; discard the remaining liquid.

3. Add the oranges, reserved liquid, green onions, jalapeno, and minced garlic to the pan.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

4. Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch.  Add to the pan and bring to a boil; continue to cook for 1 minute, until slightly thickened.

You can serve the chicken alone, but I highly recommend a bed of Asian noodles whether somen:


or soba noodles:

Any of them work well here.  Add steamed snow peas on the side to round out the meal.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 chicken breast, 6 tablespoons sauce), Calories 212 

Tasting Notes:
Overall, a fun dish, if you like mandarin oranges as much as I do.  The taste was surprisingly blander than I expected, despite nice heat from the jalapeno.  I would increase the soy sauce and decrease the green onions, and then I think the overall flavor would become a winner.  I also would chop the chicken into bite sized pieces next time during cooking, so that the dish could be ladled more easily over noodles - because you will definitely want noodles to soak up the sauce, and enjoy the flavor to the fullest.


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