Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Orange and Ginger-Glazed Chicken

Orange and ginger Glazed Chicken--ready for the finishing bake--just before serving! 
If there’s one thing I learned from growing up with a mom who cooked  frequently and for many,  it’s that pre-dinner organization is key. Before a dinner party—and there were many—my mom would create a menu, write it down, and post it. Guess this apple didn’t fall too far from the tree:  I always start with my menu, type it up, and post it (this also helps me to remember to serve everything I’ve made!).

Now, the menu might start from a visit to the market or food store; that’s often where I get my inspiration.  A few weeks ago, I saw a lot of blood oranges and started thinking about how I love the flavors of orange and red onion together—and I also really like using chicken as a base—and the balance of caramelized orange flavor with a nice piece of chicken.

When I went back to the store, the blood oranges were gone, but I found plenty of navel oranges which, in fact, one of the very helpful Trader Joe’s employees told me were great.

So—this dish, Orange and Ginger-Glazed Chicken—was partly improvised just based on my desire to combine the flavors. (And, here’s my confession: I didn’t take exact notes of amounts when I was making it so bits are up to your personal interpretation…)The 16 people who were here for that Sunday dinner, liked it very much. (Whew!)  I am sharing it with you here—as well as the complete menu here at the bottom. (I’ve halved the recipe because I’m guessing most of you aren’t cooking for 16!)  Also, feel free to top with fresh cilantro or parsley—for color and flavor. Enjoy—and let me know how you like it!

Orange and Ginger-Glazed Chicken

Serves 8 to 10

3 pounds of chicken thighs and/or breasts (I like the skinless and boneless, fresh organic—which I usually find at Trader Joe’s) Note: if I use the chicken breasts, I “trim” them slightly so they’re about the same size as the thighs.  
12 oranges (you can always use remaining oranges for the next day’s breakfast!)
1 to 2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon orange zest
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 teaspoons finely diced roasted or fresh seeded jalapeño (optional—I was going to put this in, but my parents and another guest really don’t like things spicy…so left it out).
Extra virgin olive oil
Canola oil
3 red onions, 2 coarsely chopped, one sliced into rounds
White wine (your favorite--I used Three Pears, a Pinot Gris, and one of my recent favorites)

Place the chicken in a large ceramic bowl. Squeeze about 5 of the oranges. In a separate bowl, combine the juice, half the ginger, orange zest, salt and pepper, garlic and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Makes sure all the pieces are well covered, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Squeeze another 5 oranges, and keep the juice on hand. Heat a medium-size sauté pan with about 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat (you want it hot enough to caramelize the chicken without burning. Remove the chicken from the marinade; try to leave as much of the liquid behind as possible. Place the pieces in a single layer in the pan (you may, depending on the size of the pan, have to cook it in two batches). Sprinkle some of the coarsely chopped onion on top.  Add the remaining ginger slices (I like to caramelize them, too!)

Let the chicken cook until browned on one side. It should reach a nice golden color—thanks in great part to the sugar from the orange juice.   Once you flip the chicken, and it’s golden on both sides, add more orange juice. Add a splash of white wine. Cook for just a few minutes, until the orange juice is reduced.  Transfer the browned chicken to a large baking dish (I’ve got the perfect size red pan—as you can see in the photo—that I use for both baking and serving!)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Once all the chicken has been browned, place it in the baking pan. Slice the remaining one or two oranges and place them decoratively on    top of the chicken—along with the red onion rounds. Pour remaining orange juice (not too much—about 1/4 cup). Bake for about 15 minutes, just to cook through and have warm. You might want to blast with the broiler for a minute—to caramelize the onions and oranges on top—but be careful: you don’t want to dry out your luscious chicken!

Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sides/salad of your choice. Here’s my menu—and on Wednesday, I’ll share a favorite side dish with you!

Sunday Dinner Menu:
Orange and Ginger Glazed Chicken
Orzo with Pistachio Pesto  (from a Saveur issue last fall that featured all kinds of Pestos!)
Baked Carrots with Roasted Curry Powder
Mixed Green Salad with Clementine, Cucumber, and Toasted Cashews (and a citrus vinaigrette)

Plating all the colorful dishes of last Sunday.


  1. Great picture ... now I know you do Sunday dinners ...

    1. Hah! Yep--Sunday dinners...every week, though not for 16 every week!

  2. I am lucky enough to have been one of the many your mom cooked for--but not frequently enough! You carry on her talent, and now I'm lucky to be one of the many you cook for--not frequently enough (maybe you could move to Seattle). We'll try this for one of our Sunday dinners with Margaret. Yum!

    1. Well, hmmmm...I've always liked Seattle, but how about if you guys come here? Seriously!
      Let me know how you all like this one!

  3. Hi Arlen! I've been keeping tabs on the blog - it's my new favorite reading each week :)) This is my favorite post so far because I know that table well and the glorious food, colors, aromas and love it's all served with jumps right off the page. Keep em coming, love you!

    1. Holly baby,
      I'm so excited to hear about the food you enjoyed TONIGHT with Chef Sabine!
      Thanks so much for your support--now and always! Love you right back!