Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"The Melting Pot - The Variety of American Ethnic Cooking" - Chicken A L'Orange

From the “vault”

The Melting Pot - The Variety of American Ethnic Cooking by Maria Gitin
Published by: The Crossing Press, Trumansburg, New York
© 1977
Recipe: Chicken A L’Orange – p. 239

Well reader, the last few weeks have been busy with no time to cook so I’m providing you with the recipe and review of one of my favorites – Chicken A L’Orange.

I hate to admit this, but in all the years I’ve had this book (it was given to me by a friend, circa 1981 or so), I’ve only tried one recipe. This recipe is so good and so easy that for many years, it was the standard fare for dinner parties until I eventually “oranged” out on the thing and had to give it a rest.

For those of you daring kitchen cooks, check out the recipe for Maria’s Famous Brownies, “famous” because there’s a tiny bit of, oh, shall we say a “controlled substance,” popular in brownie recipes in ‘70’s that is on the ingredient list. As God is my witness I have never tried making or eating these “famous” brownies although I’m pretty sure I could leave out said substance and they would be just fine. That being said, I have other mind-blowing (pun intended) brownie recipes that I’d rather make than this one but it does crack me up to no end every time I look at this cookbook.

As to the chicken recipe (boring now that we’ve discussed marijuana, isn’t it?), I’ve also made this recipe in appetizer proportions in the past and while it worked well, I think making the dish as directed is the way to go.

Chicken A L’Orange – serves 3 to 4

2 fresh, large juice oranges
2 fresh lemons
2 T A-1 Sauce
1 T garlic salt
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup (or less) brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
¼ tsp Chinese 5-spice (optional)
1 fryer, cut up, 3 lbs or more

Squeeze juice from oranges and lemons. Discard seeds and peels. Simmer the juice with spices and butter in saucepan 5 minutes.

Pat chicken pieces dry. Lay them in baking dish. Pour orange sauce over and bake in 325 degree oven 1 to 1 ¼ hours or til tender. Spoon glaze over chicken frequently to baste. Serve garnished with orange slices. Ridiculously simple and so good.

As a note, the author wrote this recipe at a time when Chinese 5-spice was hard to find and so she talked about getting it directly from your Chinese grocer. It might be just me but at that time, I didn’t have access to a Chinese grocer; I was lucky to have access to any grocer! If I recall, the first few times I made this recipe I wasn’t able to locate the spice and the dish was just as delicious without it.

Most grocery stores these days carry Chinese 5-spice but just in case they don’t, the spice is a mixture of Chinese star anise, cloves, fennel, anise pepper and cinnamon.

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