My kids love orange chicken, but time was short and the thought of all the steps involved in making it on a hot summer evening, standing over the frying oil was just slightly more than I was up for. So I started thinking of how I could make them an orange-y chicken without the dredging and deep-frying and immediately I thought of skewers! But I couldn't just brush some orange juice on them and call it done, nope - it had to have more flavor so I started mixing and tasting... and adding, and tasting and ended up with something everyone loved.
Using both freshly grated onion and onion powder gives it another layer of flavor without making it obviously "onion-y" - oh, and there should be plenty of salt on the chicken when you season it before putting it on the skewers that it's not really necessary in the glaze - although you could add just a little (or even some soy sauce) if you like yours on the saltier side.
Here it is, quick, easy and (I think) super tasty!
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs
Salt and Pepper
3/4 Cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed, with pulp if possible)
1/2 Cup Honey
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (orange part only)
1 Tablespoon grated Onion
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
Preheat Oven to 400
(If you have the option, I really like to use the "Convection Roast" setting - but regular Bake will work well also)
Cut chicken thighs into about 1" cubes (just get close - it's more important that the sizes are close to uniform rather than a specific size). Season well with Salt and Pepper.
In a saucepan mix together all ingredients for glaze - I really like using a microplane for the grating on this one - it gets you a really nice, small grate and it's especially good for the onions as it makes more of a "puree" than actual pieces (handy when someone in the family doesn't like onions - they'll never know they are there but you'll still get the great flavor). Bring to a boil and reduce down to about 1 Cup - set aside.
these skewers that I picked up at the Cost Plus World Market - they're metal so not only are they reusable, but they conduct the heat into the middle of the meat so it cooks more quickly. An extra bonus: you don't have to soak them AND you can pop them in the dishwasher!) Try to put an equal number of chunks on each skewer.
Pop the skewers onto a foil lined pan sprayed with nonstick spray (make sure it has some sort of sides as there will be juices). Cook for 15 minutes.
After 15 min, pull the pan out, brush both sides of each skewer with the reduced glaze mixture - pop back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
After the additional 10 min, pull them out again, bush with remaining glaze and return to oven for 5 minutes.
After the last 5 minutes, heat your broiler up and pop them under the broiler for 5 minutes to give them some really great color and a bit of char.
Rest skewers for 5-10 minutes before serving.
I served these with a rice pilaf but they would be equally as good with just a side salad that has some mandarin oranges mixed into it.
Enjoy and let me know how you like it!