Monday, December 17, 2007

Cara Cara Chicken Thighs

Cara Cara oranges are in season at the moment, and what a delight they are. The pink, juicy insides are just perfect for recipes that require a large amount of juice. I was able to get what I needed for the recipe from four oranges. You could, of course do the recipe with any oranges you like or have on hand, but I do think the Cara Cara gives it a beautiful colour that unfortunately, my crummy camera and bad light does not do justice.

This recipe is a bit of work-probably more than I should have done today, but I did serve it over packaged noodles (oh the horror! She served her family packaged noodles!). Clean-up took a bit longer than usual as there was a rather greasy frying pan to tackle. In other words, this is a bit of work. Not a huge amount of work, but enough that you should be warned.

I used a 3 lb. package of chicken thighs and will have plenty leftover for a couple nights. If you have a large enough frying pan, this is a great way to make meals ahead. I did fry the chicken in batches so as not to crowd it in the pan, but then cooked it all in the same pan after. Again, you'll be making more dishes to wash using plates here and there to hold the chicken aside. This may be less of an issue if you have a dishwasher (or someone that can do dishes without breaking them).

The recipe, with a few changes comes from The New York Times American Heritage Cookbook

You Will Need:

2-3 pounds chicken pieces

4 teaspoons grated orange rind

3/4 cup orange juice

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon rosemary

3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/2 cup oil or shortening

1/2 cup orange segments for garnish

Place the chicken in a shallow dish. Combine two teaspoons of the rind, the orange juice, one-half teaspoon of the salt, the pepper and rosemary. Pour over chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 2-3 hours.

Drain chicken and reserve the marinade (if this grosses you out, you'll need to make additional juice and grated zest to use in its place). Combine the rind, remaining salt, flour and paprika in a paper bag. Shake the drained chicken pieces a couple at a time until coated. Reserve remaining flour mixture.

Heat the fat in the large frying pan. Add the chicken pieces a couple at a time and fry until well browned and crisp. Remove to plate as they cook. When all pieces are browned, return to pan, reduce the heat and cover. Cook until chicken is tender-about 30 minutes. Uncover and cook ten minutes more at higher heat to re-crisp.

Remove chicken to a warmed serving platter. Pour off all but about three tablespoons of oil. Add three tablespoons of reserved flour and stir over medium heat for two to three minutes. Add the reserved marinade to make 1 1/2 cups, adding water if needed. Stir in and bring to a boil, cooking until thickened. Pour over chicken and garnish with orange slices. Serve hot over noodles or dumplings.

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