Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amazing Glazing

Good evening everyone! We've said many times on the blog that our culinary inspirations are Alton Brown and Jamie Oliver (among others). It was Alton Brown that showed me the science of cooking (and thereby helped me understand how it worked) and it was Jamie Oliver that took complicated terminology and turned it into everyday lingo. From their inspirations, our entire blog and lifestyle has grown. We cook for ourselves, we're adventurous in the culinary world and we're not afraid to create our own meals from nothing more than inspiration.

Every once in a while, it's nice to return to your "roots" so to speak. That's why, this week, I'm grabbing a page from Alton Brown's cookbook (quite literally) and using the work of one of our earliest inspirations as inspiration for our own dish. Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Orange Glazed Chicken
Original Recipe Found In: Good Eats 3: The Later Years

What You'll Need:
(Serves 4)

2-3 Pounds Chicken Thighs (Bone in, skin on - trimmed of excess fat)
6 Ounces Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Honey
1 Teaspoon Rice Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

This recipe, as originally constructed, is meant for chicken wings. However, I have never liked chicken wings. I simply don't get the point. Too much work for too little meat. The meat isn't even that GOOD - it's typically fatty, easily overcooked and usually just an excuse to glob on excess sauce. So, I've taken the glaze recipe from above and will be adapting it to chicken thighs - a much more flavorful and (in my opinion) worthwhile piece of meat. The cooking steps will be different from the original recipe, so don't simply substitute chicken wings back INTO the dish and expect it to work. If you'd like a wing recipe, look up Mr. Brown's original.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, combine the orage juice concentrate, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes. Set the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a light simmer while stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to cook, with regular stirring, until it reduces to about 1/2 of a cup. Transfer this glaze to a shallow bowl.

Next, place a wire cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Spray the cooling rack with a light coating of non stick cooking spray (if your rack isn't non stick).

Using your fingers, carefully pry the outer skin away from the meat of the thigh to create a small pocket. Next, using a small spoon or a small pastry brush, add a portion of the glaze to the chicken between the skin and meat. Repeat until each thigh has a bit of glaze beneath the skin. Next, gently roll each thigh in the glaze (this is why I said shallow bowl) until a light layer of glaze is on each thigh. Place the thighs on the wire baking rack and then into the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thighs reaches 170 degrees. (Note: this method produces a nice crispy skin. If you do not like the skin - like us - you can use a covered baking dish. The difference here is you can add all of the glaze into the dish and let the chicken cook surrounded by the glaze. Cooking time remains the same, regardless of method).

Serve topped with any remaining glaze and enjoy!

The Results:

If you've ever had orange chicken from a Chinese buffet or Chinese restaurant you'll recognize the flavor right away. This glaze coats the chicken beautifully, becoming a sticky yet savory vessel that gives each bite a burst of flavor. It should be noted, I don't typically eat chicken skin, so I wasn't too concerned with getting a good crisp skin. If you're looking to partake in the skin, add a few more minutes to the cooking time.

This recipe is versatile enough to be adapted to any cut of chicken, so whether you're cooking up wings for a game day feast or just want to give a bright citrus boost to a weeknight meal, this recipe won't steer you wrong.

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