Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chicken and Mushrooms in Orange Sauce

This recipe is in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, but I'm in Santa Fe right now and don't have a copy with me, so this is out of my head. It may read a little differently from the printed version, but it should taste the same. [g]

Chicken breasts (allow one per person) - diced

Garlic, minced

Onion, minced

Mushrooms, sliced or chopped – 2/3 good sized mushrooms per chicken breast.
(Any kind—I like a mixture of the regular ceps (default grocery-store mushrooms), porcini (these usually come dried and need to be soaked in water for half an hour before using—see below), and oyster mushrooms. You might not want to use portobello mushrooms, because while the texture is great and the flavor excellent with sauces, the gills will stain this sauce and make it look muddy. You can, though, if you really like them. Or if you or your spouse only like the ceps mushrooms, it's fine to use only those.)

Chicken broth/soup base/broth cubes
(I like Penzey's Chicken Soup Base, myself; it's a sort of strongly chicken-flavored paste, and easy to use. Fresh or canned broth or the little cube things will work fine, though.)

Orange juice, any kind (you need anywhere from 1-3 cups of it probably, so any size carton or bottle will supply enough)

Butter/Olive oil

Flour (3-6 Tablespoons, depending on quantity)


I like garlic and onion, so I use roughly two cloves garlic per chicken breast, and an equivalent amount (by volume) of onion. If you're not that fond of alliums [g], cut that in half. However much you use, mince it, and saute it in a heavy pan—I like to use a large saute' pan, but a sauce pan is fine, too; just not as easy to stir the chicken—with butter, olive oil, or a combination of the two (you want enough butter/oil to just cover the bottom of the pan to a depth of about 1/8"). Once the onions and garlic have begun to go translucent, add the chopped/sliced mushrooms*, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are also sauteed.

Add the diced chicken and brown, stirring occasionally. When chicken appears to be cooked through (it isn't actually brown [g]; that's just what you call it when you cook raw meat in a pan until it isn't raw anymore), sprinkle thickly with flour and stir, coating everything in the pan. Make sure all the flour gets in contact with butter/oil, no white lumps left. You want all your chicken pretty thickly coated with flour.

All right. Now you stir in orange juice a little at a time (alternating with porcini mushroom water, if you like) until you have a fairly runny sauce. Add chicken broth, in whatever form you like. I generally cook three chicken breasts at a time, and add about three teaspoons of the Penzey's Chicken Soup Base. (When I use bouillon cubes instead, I normally add only two, as these are pretty salty.) If you use liquid chicken broth, add it sparingly; you want more of the liquid to be orange juice.

Lower heat to simmer and if possible, cover pan (it's OK to cook uncovered, but you have to add liquid more often). Now cook your noodles (or rice, or whatever farinaceous substance you plan to serve this over), keeping an eye on the chicken/sauce. Add a little more orange juice every now and then, as the sauce thickens, and be sure to stir every few minutes, so it won't burn on the bottom (this shouldn't be a problem if you're just simmering it, but just in case).

You should get a feel fairly quickly for how long it takes the sauce to thicken; time your last additions of orange juice/broth/water so that the sauce will be a good consistency by the time the noodles are done. I don't add salt myself, finding that there's usually plenty supplied by the broth/soup base, nor pepper (because it makes me cough), but if you feel it needs salt or pepper, certainly go ahead and add them to taste.

Drain noodles, ladle the chicken and sauce onto them, and top with shredded romano cheese (freshly-shredded parmigiano reggiano is my favorite with this, but it's not nearly as convenient as the little tubs of shredded cheese you buy at the supermarket).

* Note on porcini mushrooms. As I said, these usually come dried in a packet, and are reconstituted by soaking them in water. You want to rinse them first, before soaking, as they shed a lot of dust and twiggy bits. Then you can save the water you soaked them in and use it in addition to the orange juice and chicken broth, to add flavor to the sauce.

10 comments:

  1. Would love to make this today. Alas, I am snowbound, so will have to wait as I have no orange juice.

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  2. Diana

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I've defrosted some chicken breasts tonight - guess what I'm cooking for tea??? ;) Thanks again :)

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  3. Will you be writing a cookbook next? :-) I will be trying this soon.

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  5. What sort of noodles to you use for the Chicken and Mushrooms in Orange Sauce?

    P.S. You are my flavorite author!

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  6. Dear Camille--

    Thank you!

    I generally use American Beauty Extra-Wide Egg Noodles, but really, you can use any kind that suits you, including Japanese udon noodles [g], vermicelli, or saifun.

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  7. I made this last night for dinner, we had it over brown rice. Yummy! Thanks for the great recipe.

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  8. Well! I just came across your blog and found this little post. I could throttle someone because you were here a scant month ago and I had no idea. Guess I'll have to actually pay attention to literary events around here, just in case you come back to Santa Fe! I'd just love to know beforehand, rather than otherwise! Grrr.

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