Yes, I called this “Wow chicken” because, when my family tasted it, you guessed it, they all said, “Wow!” The secret here was the use of lots of liquid in the form of tomatoes, chicken juices, water AND orange juice. I wanted that Chicken A l’Orange feeling, only without the work. This is up there with one of the laziest dishes I have ever made, but it tasted like great effort was invested in it’s preparation!
I love when I am completely tired, and not in the mood to go to too much trouble in the kitchen, and dinner turns out as it did last night; tender meat and luscious sauce with a hint of sweetness. The thyme sprigs and orange juice helped take this dish out of the category of ordinary chicken dinner into something special and distinctive.
The only reason for adding the slivered almonds was because I was reminded of a cake I make where orange juice is the binder and it has a surgery almond topping. Surly the almonds would be good with a chicken broth that contained orange juice, and, I have used almonds in chicken curry dishes before? The slivered almonds worked like a dream and added a nice crunch and nuttiness to the overall flavor.
Yes, I know, I am very fond of making chicken dishes. My only argument is that I am extremely fond of chicken! I have to confess that when I go out to even the fanciest of restaurants, I invariably order the roast chicken dish on the menu. A beautifully cooked chicken is a magical thing, and I will never get sick of it. I love it fried, boiled, roasted (who can resist that crispy salty skin), barbecued, slow-cooked, stir-fried……you cook it, I’ll try it!
You will Need: 1 cut-up chicken (8 pieces, between 3 1/2 – 4 lbs), 3 tbs olive oil, 1 large sweet onion, large dice, 1 red pepper, cut into big chunks, 2 garlic cloves, sliced, 1 14 oz can peeled whole plum tomatoes with juices, sliced, 4 thyme sprigs, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water OR 3 cups water and 1 vegetable or chicken bouillon cube, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed or carton orange juice, coarse sea salt for seasoning, several grinds of pepper, basmati rice (2 1/2 cups for stove top method, 3 rice cup measures for rice-cooker method).
1 – Put pan or heavy casserole on high heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, sear chicken on both sides until browned. You may have to do this in batches. Turn heat down to low/medium heat and transfer chicken to a plate.
2 – Add onions and garlic to pan and cook for 7 minutes. Add red pepper chunks and thyme and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
3 – Toss in the almonds and stir. Add the tomatoes, orange juice and water and broth (or bouillon and water) to pan and bring liquid to a simmer. Add the chicken to simmering broth. Take two sheets of tin foil and seal the top of the casserole or pan and then put the lid on top. Your objective is to seal as tightly as possible. Turn stove-top to the lowest setting and simmer gently for 65 minutes.
* While chicken is cooking, cook the rice and keep warm.
When chicken is cooked, turn off heat and let everything sit for 5 minutes before serving. Divide between 6 warmed bowls, putting rice on the bottom, placing chicken on top, and ladling lots of broth and vegetables over everything.