Orange Chicken and Broccoli
Valentine's Day is Thursday, and I'll bet some of you forgot to make reservations. Or maybe you're just smart: Eating out on Feb. 14 can be crazy.
It's just as easy to cook at home, especially if you prepare a dish with sweet and seductive ingredients. Some say oranges have aphrodisiac properties because they're packed with vitamin C, which ups your body's levels of oxytocin, the hormone that promotes trust and bonding. But I like this recipe simply because it tastes good.
The original calls for serving it on steamed rice, but my little darlings prefer chow mein noodles. Fortune cookies optional.
1 navel orange
3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1 egg white
1 pound chicken breast, cut into thin slices or chunks
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Asian orange or citrus sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or 3 to 4 whole dried chiles
1/2 cup shredded carrot
Remove the peel of the orange (colored part only, no pith) with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, and reserve. Juice orange and reserve.
In medium bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon orange juice, 2 tablespoons cornstarch and egg white until blended. Add chicken, and toss. Set aside.
Cook broccoli in microwave with 2 tablespoons water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. (You also can steam it.) Drain, and set aside.
Combine the remaining orange juice and cornstarch, chicken broth, orange sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet or wok. Cook chicken in 2 batches, 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove to a plate.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add reserved orange peel and hot pepper flakes and stir fry 1 to 2 minutes, until peel and pepper begin to darken and smell fragrant. Pour reserved orange sauce mixture into skillet and cook, stirring, until bubbly and sauce starts to thicken.
Add broccoli, chicken and carrot; continue to cook 2 minutes, until hot and coated with sauce. Serve on top of rice.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- Adapted from "Better Sex Recipe Book" (JCS Publishing, 2011, 99 cent Kindle edition)
Gretchen McKay: email@example.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.