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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Orange Cinnamon Chicken

A wee while back, I ran into the Alligator at the Market.

We waxed poetic about getting together and cooking dinner or something, but alas, circumstances conspired against us, and the deed was never done. Now we are separated by an ocean, but I'm sure that day will come.

Meanwhile, it's important to point out one thing: The Alligator is a real, bonafide chef, as opposed to me who is just a weekend foodie with a macro lens. I was therefore at serious risk of being shown up as a sad charlatan in the kitchen. Accordingly, I decided I had to do something drastic:


I thought that if I was going to make something to feed to a real chef, it had better be delicious and original, and I wasn't going to take any chances. I made up a recipe and gave it a trial run.

Turns out I would've been OK just going with the flow like I always do. And as it was, the Alligator never got to chomp my chicken anyway.

So here it is, Alligator. I offer up my Orange Cinnamon Chicken for you to take away and make better, to make...professional.

Then send me a drumstick.
Orange Cinnamon Chicken

(Serves 3)

3 Chicken Thighs, Skinned & Seasoned
2 Oranges
12 Cloves
Freshly Ground Pepper and Salt
Olive Oil
Semolina flour for Dusting
1 Cinnamon Quill
1 Whole Nutmeg
2 Bay Leaves
1 Onion, wedged
1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
1/3 Cup Red Wine
1/3 Cup Boiling Water
Juice 1 orange. Grate the zest from the other orange. Reserve the wedges of orange flesh, broken in half.

To the juice, add 6 cloves, salt and pepper, the orange rind and 2T olive oil. Stir it all up and sit for a few minutes to extract the flavour from the cloves. Strain the juice, reserving, and press the wet orange rind into the chicken thighs.
Sprinkle with semolina flour and drizzle with olive oil.
In a large pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom to a depth of 1mm. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon quill, halved, the nutmeg, 6 cloves, and the bay leaves. Fry until fragrant and smoking.
Push the spices to the edge of the pan and add the chicken. Shake constantly, browning both sides to seal the meat.
Layer the onion and carrot in an oven dish that will fit the chicken snugly. Place the seared chicken on top of the veges.
Press the orange wedges around the chicken and drizzle the juice over top.

Cover and bake at 220C for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, add the red wine and water to the dish, pouring around the bottom of the chicken, not over top of it. Reduce heat to 200C and cook for a further 1/2 hour.
Dish up with couscous and fresh veges, layering the chicken on top of the cooked carrots, onions and oranges.


Wanisan said...

Well, the tastes all work in my head- the pictures make it look tasty too.

The technique used is a little odd though I will admit. It's neither a full roast or a classic braise. Not that there is anything wrong with the end result; simply stating this is a home cooking method.

What was the texture of the chicken in the end? Did it fall off the bone?
What was the sauce consistency like?

We will indeed cook together one day!

Dan said...

Here's what I remember: I pulled the chicken out to check it after an hour and there was very little liquid left in the dish - probably because I left it uncovered to allow the chicken to brown.

Thus I added the wine/water mix, not wanting the chicken to dry out.

See, there's definitely some room for improvement.

I think the chicken came out pretty succulent, having taken on the flavours of the spices, orange and the wine quite well. Might be better as drumsticks, though. I think a slower covered cook with all the sauce at the outset might render up a more tender dish, but it was pretty nice as it was.

The sauce that remained was pretty light, and I dished up the veges in the dish too. Very flavoursome.

If you give it a go, let me know how it turns out. It can be like a virtual dinner party...