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A l’ Orange Chicken Sauce for Grilled Chicken

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French Style For Today’s Cook. Add some citrus zest goodness to your repertoire. An updated version of a classic Julia Child recipe.

I’m somewhat of a citrus junkie, always craving that naturally sweet, vibrant and colorful juice. One of the greatest pleasures of the winter season is the influx of fresh citrus. Beyond those wooden five pound crates of clementine oranges, there are fabulous domestic varieties, now becoming more mainstream – my favorites – Cara Cara and Honeybell Tangelos.

Of course an easy-peel delicious snack; I love to cook with the meat, juice and peel of the sun-kissed fruit!* In mid-March, the honeybell season has passed, yet my local produce store was overflowing with heavy-for-their-size Cara Caras and Tangelos (also named Minneolas.)

Still anticipating (and trying to be patient) for some quality Spring produce to arrive – Oranges make me happy. They do bring a little sunshine into all that I eat and cook. I’m pretty well known for my weeknight lemon chicken – so why not I thought, update Julia Child’s 1960’s French-style Duck â l’Orange? I doubt if the average kitchen is roasting duck during the week, so – here it goes – â l’orange sauce with grilled chicken. Perfect for a weeknight meal, special enough for company, and – it’s healthier for you. Don’t confuse this new dish with the overly fried, salted and battered Asian orange chicken. In the recipe you will learn how to season and properly grill chicken and make a delicious sauce with the julienned rind of the orange that compliments and adds zest! Experiment by making the sauce ahead of time for a true, speedy weeknight delight.

The sauce, like Julia’s, starts with caramelizing a little sugar, an important step for just a little burnt sugar lends a deep note of sweetness and color throughout the sauce, a counterpoint to the vibrance of the citrus juice.

Some orange thoughts:

Cara Cara oranges, a type of navel grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, are available January through April. Their outward appearance is similar to other navels, but their interior is a unique pinky- red hue and has an exceptionally sweet flavor with a tangy cranberry-like vibrance. Cara Caras are a rich source of Vitamins A and C, fiber and Lycopene and boast lower acidity. They are plentiful between December through April.

Honeybell Tangelo’s fruit is extremely juicy and sweet with a slight tartness. Its rind and flesh are both a bright orange in color, a deeper shade than that of an orange. Their season is short and peaks in January – a citrus connoisseur’s dream, and the most sought-after of all the hybrids. Combining the best of flavors of a tangerine and grapefruit, grown in Florida. The fruit is quite handsome and a genuine pleasure to eat.

Bon Appétit!
Karen

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