Sunday, March 24, 2013

Baked Lychee and Mandarin Orange Chicken

It's Sunday and we're only three left in our house, me, my dad and my brother.  My mom and sister is in Batangas since Friday night to attend our family reunion.  Well, I'm too tired to travel and decided to rest this weekend.

Cooking something special this Sunday is a must.  It's family day anyway.  Combining fruits in a savory dish is something unusual in our home.  The only dish we adds fruit is the pork hamonado.  So, adding lychee and mandarin orange in roasted chicken is something different.  This recipe is inspired by Smitten Kitchen's recipe of Harvest Chicken with Grapes and Olives.

1/2 kilo                                 Chicken
                                             Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon                        Olive Oil
7 pieces                                Black Olives
1 piece                                  Onion
1 Can                                    Lychee
1 Small Can                           Mandarin orange
1 Bunch                                 Parsley
1/2 cup                                  Reserved Mandarin Orange Juice
1/2 cup                                  Reserved Lychee Juice
pinch                                      Salt
pinch                                      Black Pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 225 degree Celsius.  Clean chicken and remove clotted blood and excess fats and pat dry.  Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper (don't be shy).

2.  Heat the skillet and add the olive oil.  Brown the chicken, skin side down first and turning them over once, roughly around 5 - 7 minutes.

3.  Transfer everything in a baking pan.  Add the olives, onion, lychee, mandarin orange and parsley and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.  (After sometime, the sweet aroma of the caramelizing onion started to filled our kitchen.)

4.  Switch off the oven and remove the chicken.  Scoop out the chicken juice and return the chicken in the oven to keep warm.

5.  In a skillet, add the chicken juice, mandarin and lychee juice, salt and pepper.  Simmer and reduce to 1/4 cup.

6.  Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the reduced sauce over the chicken.

The chicken is sweet and savory.  You could actually taste the natural sweetness from the lychee and mandarin orange.  The caramelized onion also adds a distinct sweetness and spice to the dish.  To maximize the full flavor of the dish, I suggest combining chicken, caramelized onion, lychee and mandarin orange in one  scoop (spoon).  The flavors of the fruits, caramelized onion and the chicken complements each other well.

For this recipe, I used chicken breast, since it's the only chicken part available in our fridge.  I thick using chicken wings or legs will make the dish more flavorful because of the more fats in it (more fats means more flavors).  Also, be generous in seasoning your chicken with salt, the sweetness of the fruits will help to balance the flavor.


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