Over 15 years ago we planted a little Washington naval orange tree. We always hope for the best for our new fruit trees and wanting them to adjust to our climate and hopefully, grow to be healthy and lush. Our philosophy is growing healthy trees comes first and then the fruit will come later. We don’t always expect a bumper crop in the first two or three years because it takes times for trees to get used to their new home, weather and soil. But our little naval was a trooper from the very beginning and started to give fruit that was so super sweet, it was amazing. Yeah, we’re proud parents, can’t you tell?
Fast forward 15 years later and this orange tree is as happy as ever and producing way more oranges than we can juice. So we’ve been coming up with different ways to cook with oranges and one absolute favorite way is to make orange chicken! We call it fresh orange chicken because we use fresh orange juice and the flavor makes all the difference when you squeeze fresh juice for this recipe. For even more flavor, we zest the oranges because we can’t let any of it go to waste. Sure you can use orange juice from concentrate, but if you can get your hands on a few fresh oranges, you’ll be able to taste the difference.
If you love orange chicken then you’ll love this homemade fresh orange version. It’s way better than take out and honestly, it’s so much easier to make this than to drive to an Asian restaurant for take-out. Also, there’s so many different orange varieties out there, including the gorgeous cara cara that we’ve been eyeing. If only we had more backyard space!
We’re huge fans of juicing oranges for fresh morning juice and on those rare times we don’t have any in the garden, we’ll buy 10 pound bags from the farmers market. Over the years we’ve used many juicers and for large quantity juicing, our favorite is this Krups Electric Juicer. We’ve gone through hundreds of pounds with ours and love it as much as any commercial juicer I used when I was in the restaurant world.
diane and todd
- about 1 pound (455g) chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 1/2 cups (360ml) fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) grape seed oil (or any high flash point oil-canola oil, peanut oil, etc...)
- Kosher salt , to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper , to taste
- Chopped cilantro or parsley , for garnish
- Serve with rice , couscous or quinoa
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Make the orange glaze: Add orange juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally cook until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in the orange zest. Set aside.
Heat oil on medium-high heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until cooked through and crispy on edges, about 3-5 minutes depending on how big your chicken pieces are. Remove from heat and add orange glaze to the chicken, stirring to coat evenly.
Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve over warm rice, couscous or quinoa.