This recipe was passed on by Al Hardy, who lives on Vancouver Island.   Recently Al shared it with the owner of California-based Buck Oranges, who sells his citrus fruit exclusively to Thrifty Foods.  Al appreciates the quality of the produce and products at Thrifty Foods and is a regular Sendial volunteer at Thriftys.  Sendial is a wonderful programme that provides grocery shopping assistance to people who are elderly or have mobility challenges.  Since Al is an avid chef at home, he enjoys providing informed advice to Sendial clients about the best choice of products and produce to purchase.  Al has been cooking for the last 25 years while living in Canada and overseas, and reports that this is one of his most popular dishes when he entertains.

A major bonus of this recipe is that it is made with chicken thighs, which are cheaper than chicken breasts.  This recipe can be made with mandarin oranges or regular oranges. For the latter, if you live in the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island, use the Buck brand available at Thrifty Foods.  If you don’t live near a Thriftys, you will want to choose an orange that is juicy.  This recipe also includes a garnish of almonds.  Almonds are not included in the photo below.

If you decide to try this recipe, do let us know how it turned out.

ORANGE AND ALMOND CHICKEN

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

2 ounces of seedless raisins (Sultanas or another type of seedless raisins work well.)
1 jigger (2 ounces) of sherry (If you do not have sherry on hand, you can use a dry white wine.  Sherry is the better choice, however.)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (If possible use white pepper.)
12 chicken thighs (Bone-in and skinned.  Skinning is important.)
5 tablespoons oil (olive or canola)
5 oranges (4 peeled and in segments and one used to squeeze into the water.)
1 cup water  (Top up the orange juice)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup hot beef bouillon (or chicken if you prefer)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce (A light soy sauce is best.)
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ cup half & half cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preparation:

Put Sultana raisins in a small bowl, cover them with sherry and set aside.

Peel four oranges, trim off excess white pulp, cut them into segments and set aside.

Mix paprika and pepper together and coat one side, only, of each piece of chicken. If you are short of mixture prepare another paprika/pepper mix. Don’t overcoat. Spread the spices around on the chicken skin to ensure it’s not too thick.

Pre-heat a frying pan or Dutch oven and then warm the oil. (Watch olive oil to ensure it doesn’t smoke as it can catch on fire easily.) Add chicken and cook on medium heat until the pieces are golden on all sides (about 10 minutes). Some stove tops are hotter than others. Watch that your chicken isn’t browning too quickly.

Cut one orange in half and squeeze out the juice using a manual juicer. Add the juice to a measuring cup and bring the liquid up to the ½ cup mark. Pour the liquid over the chicken and add the crushed garlic. Pour in the hot bouillon.

Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add the raisins and sherry to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Then remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon or slotted server ladle and place them on a warm platter.

Blend the cornstarch with a small amount of cold water and add to the sauce. Stir constantly until thickened and bubbly. Season with soy sauce and ginger. Add orange segments and cream. Heat through but do NOT boil.

Heat butter in a small frypan and add sliced almonds. Cook until golden but not too dark. Return the chicken to the pan and ladle sauce over the pieces. Add the almond slices on top.

Serve with rice or another grain such as quinoa that can absorb the sauce.

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