Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicken ala Orange

So often than not, you see duck ala orange in the menu and not chicken ala orange. The reason I used chicken is that it is cheaper and I have never cooked duck before. Anyhow, this dish is a little troublesome because of the sauce but hey, the sauce tasted great! It was full of flavor without any use of MSG or any flavoring cubes *knorr* so I was quite happy with it.

First, get some of the frozen chicken stock.

And defrost it.

Now, its time to really make the troublesome sauce. Get a small saucepan and add some white wine vinegar.

With the white wine vinegar inside the saucepan, add some peppercorns, a bay leaf and some minced shallots.

Reduce that until it is dry, while it is reducing. Get some oranges and squeeze the juice out. Taste it. Add some sugar if necessary, mine needed a lot it.

When the white wine vinegar mixture is au sec *almost dry* add in the orange juice into the sauce pan and reduce 1/4 of its total mixture.

Strain the mixture.

You get this strong sweet, tangy, savory sauce.

Now, the sauce needs more body, return the orange sauce to the saucepan, add the chicken stock and reduce! French cooking is always about reduction to enhance the flavor.

As you can see, the left part of the saucepan has some stains. Scrape those off and mix it with the sauce. The fond *stain* is full of flavor so we do not want to waste that.

Set this aside, we will be doing something about this later again.

Now, lets prepare the chicken and all its ingredients. We just need to pan roast it and it is easy.

It's a simple roast, just need some chicken, salt and pepper, rosemary, garlic, thyme, butter and olive oil. Pat the chicken with a paper towel, we would want them to be really dry so it browns nicely thus giving it a better flavor.

Season and brown the chicken on both sides.

When it is 70% done, add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and butter into the pan.

Then baste the chicken. Basting is technically pouring the oil in the cooking over the meat. Use a spoon, scoop out some oil, then pour over the chicken.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and let it rest. Then we make a roux *a thickening agent for the sauce*. Making a roux is easy, it's equal parts fat and starch. In our case, the fat that we are going to use is the one we have just used for the chicken.

Add some starch, mine is an all-purpose flour. Then cook it for just a little while to remove the starchy taste.

Then add the orange sauce that we have set aside awhile ago. Pour over a little at a time so that you can control the consistency. Try scraping the pan with a spoon too since there will be good flavored fonds there.

Lastly, mount in some butter to give that extra rich and creamy flavor. In french cooking they call this monte au beurre. Normally, you can make the sauce in advance, then when you want to serve your dish, reheat the sauce, then mount some butter.

Lastly, plate the chicken, cut some chicken then place the sauce around it. Simple plating. :D


Presentation is a little dull. It lacks color. I was first thinking of making a pure orange sauce out from to give it a nice orange color, however; the extra rich flavor that is in the cooking pan will be put to waste if I don't use it, so I did what I did.

Flavor was great. The sauce was spectacular. The only problem was that there were bites that overpowered the chicken. Duck meat could have paired better with this sauce since duck has that robust flavor that will complement really well with my sauce. Still, flavors were great.

Lastly, the chicken breast were cooked nicely. It wasn't dry and it was pretty moist. Moreover, the thin layer of skin on the breast was great with the moist breast meat. Yum :D

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