"Savory bites of chicken and tender bell peppers are cooked in an orange-ginger sauce in this delicious & flavorful dinner. It makes great leftovers, too!"
I don’t know about you, but I love taking advantage of a good sale. And better yet, I love to buy things in bulk. Because who wants to go to the grocery store 10 times for the same item, amirite?
And, of course, this is all assuming that I can save or freeze these sold-in-bulk goods. That was a hard lesson I learned in my 20’s. Many a Costco-sized basket of apples did not reach their full potential at my hands.
But let’s just say that I happened across a great chicken sale (because I totally did). And let’s just say that I have a laundry-list of chicken recipes I’ve been waiting to make (because I totally do).
When faced with this opportunity, I did the only logical thing: I started with the recipe I’ve been drooling over the most.
And that, my friends, was this orange-infused Szechuan chicken recipe (also known as Sichuan chicken).
Now, I gotta be honest – this wasn’t exactly the “quickest” dinner I’ve ever made, but you have to understand:
Chopping veggies and meats is not my strong suit.
I guess it must be the perfectionist in me (or probably my survival instinct kicking in, seeing as I’m very clumsy) but I’ve never been able to master chopping. I take more of a “slow and steady wins the race” approach, with each cut made with
shaky uncertainty tender loving care. I always get the job done, but it’s a slow and tedious process wherein I’m never quite sure if I’ll still have all my fingers when I’m done.
So when I say this Szechuan chicken was a little time-consuming to make, you can grade my opinion in the same way the height requirement keeps the vertically challenged off a rollercoaster ride.
But you know what I can tell you about this recipe?
The finished dish was delicious.
I’ve had “standard” Szechuan chicken before, and honestly, I think I enjoy this version better – but, then again, I always tend to lean toward sweeter dishes. The orange flavor is definitely “there” in this recipe, but it’s not overpowering at all.
And when this Szechuan orange chicken is served over a bed of steaming white rice? It’ll make you wonder why you ever bothered with Chinese take-out!
Szechuan Orange Chicken
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil separated
- 1 1/2 lb chicken breast boneless & skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- 1 pinch pepper to taste
- 1 red bell pepper stemmed & seeded, then cut into 1/4 inch-wide strips
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tbsp ginger fresh and grated
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 scallions sliced thin
- In a small bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, orange zest, and orange juice. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat until steaming. Cooking in batches that best fit your skillet, add cut chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until no longer pink (about 3-5 minutes) then remove from skillet and place on a plate. Repeat until all chicken is cooked and removed from skillet.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to skillet, then add cut bell pepper. Cook bell pepper, turning frequently, until just softened, about 3-5 minutes. Push pepper to one side of the skillet.
- On the clear side of the skillet, add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Use the back of a spatula to gently press the garlic and ginger into the skillet. Scrape up ginger and garlic and press again. Repeat this for about 30 seconds or until ginger and garlic are fragrant.
- Add hoisin mixture to the skillet and whisk to combine. Let sauce simmer until reduced and thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add cooked chicken and scallions to skillet, then toss to coat. Cook until chicken is heated through.
- Serve immediately.
Recipe lightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen.