‘Spicy Orange Chicken’ is a recipe I’ve had on the blog since the very beginning. I put it on our weekly menus regularly but have never actually written about. Well, it is a recipe that deserves some attention and today is the day!
This recipe has family history. It comes from Nate’s Grammy McCarthy and is one of the very first recipes I received when Nate and I got married. I feel like it’s one of those recipes that gave me confidence as a novice cook and I’m sure it will forever be part of my dinner rotation. Even though I always go to my computer to look up the recipe, I can still picture the recipe card in my head that Grammy gave to me all those years ago. Actually, there are two recipe cards…for some reason she wrote it up for me twice, and I can picture both of them clear as day. (For you sentimental folks out there, don’t worry…I still have the cards!)
Orange chicken is one of Nate’s favorite dinners. And he doesn’t love it just because it’s Grammy’s recipe (although I’m sure that’s part of the reason!). It is just such a wonderful, homey, warm, yummy meal. My kids literally gobble it up…actually, we all do!
A word about the name. Grammy has always called it ‘Spicy Orange Chicken.’ It is definitely not called this because it is spicy…it’s not hot at all. I think “spicy” refers to the fact it has spices in it (basil and nutmeg to be exact). So, to avoid further confusion, I’m changing the name to Grammy’s Orange Chicken. Although, in my mind and heart it will always be ‘Spicy’ because that’s what the recipe cards say.
From our home to yours, I give you Grammy’s Orange Chicken. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Grammy’s Spicy Orange Chicken
From Mary McCarthy
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 C flour
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 3 T butter
- 3 T brown sugar
- 3 T vinegar
- 1 1/2 C orange juice
- 1 t. nutmeg
- 1 t. dried basil
- 1/2 t. ground ginger (ginger is not in Grammy’s original recipe, but we like the added flavor)
- 1 can mandarin oranges
Combine flour, salt and pepper in bag. Shake chicken pieces in flour until coated. Brown in butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Combine sauce ingredients and add to skillet. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until tender and cooked through. (Jane note: I actually hardly ever cover it at this point, and if I do cover it I keep the lid tipped so some of the moisture can evaporate out. The flour on the chicken also helps the sauce to thicken.) Add drained mandarin oranges and cook 5 more minutes, being careful not to smoosh up the oranges too much. (Grammy called the mandarin oranges a “sophisticated touch.”)
Serve with rice.
Freezes well if you want to make it ahead of time.