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Steve’s Sticky-Sweet Orange Chicken

Mary Anne here. When I posted my brother Stephen’s Spare Ribs recipe, I mentioned that when the Ellicotts get together for family reunions, we really know how to “throw down.” And this past week was no exception.

Steve and I – along with our 85-year-old mom (and frequent Feast on the Cheap star) – packed our duffels and headed west to Vancouver, WA to visit with my mom’s own beloved brother, Len. After two memorable days of shooting pool, perusing picture albums and sharing several delicious meals with our 96-year-old uncle/brother (our family tree blooms with some amazing genes), we continued on our westerly tour, landing in my niece’s home just north of San Francisco.

This mini-reunion resulted in a few massive meals, which allowed each of us to flex our respective culinary muscles…a sort of “Family Feud” meets “Top Chef,” if you will. I even went so far as to put my sister-in-law, Daniella, on the computer to view our video, “How to Chop an Onion,” after watching her wrestle with the knife.

Steve’s contribution was an “East meets West” Asian-Tex-Mex chicken that can be either roasted in the oven or tossed onto the BBQ. Our niece, Heidi, kicked things off with a delightful Ahi Tuna Poke. Daniella, of onion notoriety, used newly-laid eggs from her farm to create a Vegetarian Fritatta that was crisp on the outside but offered up a soft underbelly filled with grated smoked gouda cheese and fragrant fresh veggies.

The dinner was incredible – each component etched in my memory. The succulent, citrus-infused spicy chicken reflected the warmth, laughter, and friendly barbs of banter typical of an Ellicott feast. Hopefully this sweetly spiced glazed chicken dish will leave you with a similar glow!

Steve’s Sticky-Sweet Orange Chicken
Serves 12

6 whole chicken legs (about 3.5 lbs.) – $6.27
6 chicken breasts with ribs in (about 4.5 lbs.) – $11.17

For the Marinade:
½ cup olive oil – stock
liberal amount of garlic powder – stock
liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1 orange – included in sauce ingredients/calculations

For the Sauce:
½ cup chicken stock – stock
¼ cup orange marmalade – $0.89
¾ cup fresh orange or tangerine juice – $1.17
zest of 1 orange – included above
¾ cup BBQ sauce – stock
2 minced chipotle peppers with seeds; add to the BBQ sauce – $0.49
2 Tablespoons Tamarind paste – Asian stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $19.99
Total Per Serving: $1.67

1. Prepare the marinade by whisking together the olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, and orange zest.

2. Create a pocket between the skin and the meat of the chicken by gently lifting the skin, using your fingers. Dividing evenly, spoon some of the marinade mixture into each pocket. Transfer to a platter, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Note: If using a gas grill, preheat on high flame to 500 degrees; reduce the flame as the manufacturer directs and grill the chicken over medium-indirect heat.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame; reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. Place the chicken in a shallow roasting pan. Baste with some of the warm sauce. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and baste with more of the sauce. Repeat turning and basting in 20 minute intervals 2 more times for a total cooking time of 1 hour. Test for doneness by pricking a chicken thigh. The juices will run clear when the chicken is done.

6. Transfer to a warm platter. Reheat the remaining sauce and serve alongside the chicken.