Thursday, April 2, 2009

Orange Chicken with Broccoli and Onion

Mmmm... lunch.

As school gets increasingly busy and stressful, I find myself cooking with increasing frequency. It makes sense, right?

It does.

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...


kmari03 said...

Wow, that looks good. It would be great with fried tofu. Me and my grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup (yes, tomato soup) are jealous. although it's rainy and cool here today, so my meal is theme appropriate.

jess said...

can you make this during the summer, please? preferably with sauce that is not two years out of date... and i'll hold on the rice. other than that, looks very yummy.

and i like your apron.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Probably Big Lots! They have tons of awesome stuff on the food aisles! It looks delicious. I'm so starving right now. My boyfriend is on his way over with my dinner... a McDouble from.. GUESS WHERE! ;)

PS: I got the cd today!! I read the note to my parents. They thought it was so cute. Lol! I can't wait to pop it into the cd player next time I'm making cuppies! :D Thanks sooo much!

Evan said...

My favorite orange chicken sauce:

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 unflavored rice vinegar
1/4 soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch

It thickens up beautifully in a wok or large skillet.

Amanda said...

Kmari03: Mmm... tofu. Haha. Just kidding; I do enjoy tofu sometimes. For those other times, I'll stick to chicken. :)

Jess: Yes. And, isn't it snazzy the way Rosie is perfectly framed when I'm chopping? Since Christmas, Rosie has been demoted to cooking and dishwashing.

HTEAC: I'm glad you like the note! I get a little bit silly when I write with markers on fancy paper. :)

Evan: I just finished my leftovers for lunch. Is it too soon to try out your recipe for dinner?

Amber said...

A word on raw chicken:
As a high school sophomore, I was assigned to dissect a raw chicken bone leg. It was the worst thing I've ever dissected (which includes frogs, crawdads and rabbits). It stunk. It was dangerous. I had to Purell myself all day.
And THEN we cleaned the bones, soaked them in vinegar for a week and extracted the bone marrow.


And that's why chicken is the scariest of meats.

Amanda said...

Amber: Wow. I think I just threw up a little bit. That's so wrong.

That makes my rabbit, pig, frog, earthworm dissections seem like veritable walks in the park. Ugh. Why do we make children hack into things?