Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Good Night for Chicken Stew!

The Herbal Husband ate a lot of stews in Peru. He makes one called seco con culantro. It is a meat stew with meat cubes, potatoes, peas, sherry, lemon and cilantro. I'll do a post on that wonderful stew soon. The one I made here is called Garlic Orange Chicken. It doesn't sound like a stew, does it? I found it a while ago in The Herb Companion magazine, August/September, 1991. It is served in the magazine with vermicelli pasta. I served it last night with couscous and those new year's lentils. The Herbal Husband loves the sauce for the chicken. In fact, he puts it on the rice we usually serve with it! So here is the recipe and my thoughts on it:

Garlic Orange Chicken (Serves 6)

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (Last night I used 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs. They worked just as well. If you are serving it for company, I would use breast meat.)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved (I used 3 cloves of garlic, minced.)
1-1/2 tablespoons oil (I use 1-1/2 tablespoons to brown the chicken, then I add about 1-1/2 tablespoons more to cook the onions and garlic.)
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (I cut this back to 1/4 teaspoon.)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I cut this back to 1/4 teaspoon.)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped chives (I used the ones from the freezer. They were wonderful!)
3 tablespoons chopped lovage (I used 2 tablespoons dried. I started with 1 tablespoon and up it to enhance the flavor. If you do not have lovage, use celery leaves. I would use 3 tablespoons or more as needed to add flavor.)
12 ounces vermicelli (You can use whatever grain you wish. It would even be good with potatoes.)
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
6 sprigs basil and 6 chive (or other herb) flowers for garnish

Trim any fat from the chicken. Open two small pockets in each breast half, either by slicing into it with a knife or by separating the muscles of the breast. Insert a piece of garlic in each pocket. (I don't do this step. I just add the garlic to the onions and saute them together.) Pat the chicken dry. In a heavy skillet, brown the chicken on both sides in the oil, then remove it. (Add additional oil if needed.) Add onion (and garlic) to skillet, reduce heat and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper, salt and mustard, and cook for 1 minute, stirring the browned onion bits into mixture. Add orange juice, broth and herbs. Bring mixture to a boil, add chicken, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Cook vermicelli (or other grain or vegetable) while chicken is simmering. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add cornstarch-water mixture and stir constantly until thickened. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken and the remainder over the hot vermicelli. Garnish with the basil sprigs and chive flowers.

Hope you enjoy it!


Rosemary said...

Last night was a good wintry night for stew! We had beef stew... but your garlic orange chicken stew looks yummy!

lemonverbenalady said...

It was very yummy, Nancy