Thursday, April 2, 2009
Orange Chicken with Broccoli and Onion
As school gets increasingly busy and stressful, I find myself cooking with increasing frequency. It makes sense, right?
Anyway, today I dusted off a package of Lee Kum Kee Mandarin Orange Chicken Sauce that has been on my shelf for over a year. The package told me that it would be best before August 2007. Umm... we're a bit past that but that sauce was hermetically sealed. I'm not worried.
The back of the package had directions for a chicken, pepper, and onion stir-fry, but I just did my own thing.
I started by chopping up an onion
and about this much broccoli.
Then I (horrors!) pulled out the thawed chicken.
On the hierarchy of my kitchen dislikes, chicken reigns supreme. It grosses me out. Chicken = deadly diseases. Every time. I don't even feel this way about ground beef, and I've read Fast Food Nation.
Back to it... I cut up the chicken for easy stir frying. I salted and peppered the pieces on one side, because I'm odd like that, and carefully placed them in a little bit of hot EVOO in the big skillet. (I say 'the' big skillet, because the roommate and I have a big skillet and a little skillet. We are very advanced.)
After they (finally) browned, I tossed the broccoli and onion into the skillet and lidded that jazz. I let the veggies sweat it out for a few minutes and then opened her up, stirred everybody around, and walked away. I did this three times, I think.
When I was quite pleased with the texture of the vegetables and, honestly, beginning to worry about burning the goodness on the bottom of the pan, I poured a fair amount of the Mandarin Sauce over the whole shabang. Turns out I added a bit too much sauce, but I just served the stuff with a slotted spoon and everything was fine.
About this time, I remembered the rice and set that to boil. I let the chicken and such simmer at a low temp for the 10 minutes it took the rice to cook. I don't know if this did anything to the flavor, but I will do it this way from now on just in case it did.
This dish was fantastic. One of my favorite restaurants in VA is the Red Star Tavern. I have had a few things that I liked there, but the reason I think about the Red Star on slow days is because their Orange Chicken is absolutely amazing. It's saucy and spicy and served on the most gloriously fluffy rice.
I'm pleased to report that this Mandarin Sauce was eerily similar to the Red Star dish. It wasn't quite as spicy as the Red Star variety, but it's as close as it needs to be to make me really really happy.
Now if only I could remember where I bought this sauce two years ago...