I seriously just cooked a dinner that took 2 1/2 hours. It was not a casserole or anything that needed to bake for a long period of time. In fact...it was a mostly fried dish so the actual cooking only took 15 minutes.
The other day I started craving orange chicken from The Cheesecake Factory. I. Love. That. Stuff.
So i search online for a recipe that resembles it and I find one. Not only is it similar but the website says it is the EXACT recipe. That was the one I had to cook!!
I must say that I am not the cook in the family. That role is definitely filled by Artie. I did not realize how long this little venture would take. It turned out really yummy and was well worth the wait but man...it will definitely not go on the weekly rotation. It is really close to the exact thing and will fill my cravings until I get to visit The Cheesecake Factory again.
Here is the recipe...try it once!
Cheesecake Factory Orange Chicken
1 1/2 pound Chicken thighs -- skinless trimmed and cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces (I used breasts)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed)
1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
8 strips orange peel (each about 2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide)
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar -- packed
3 cloves garlic -- minced or pressed
1 piece (1 inch size) ginger -- grated
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch PLUS
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (cold)
8 small whole dried red chiles -- optional
***Coating and Frying***
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups peanut oil
FOR THE MARINADE AND SAUCE: Place chicken in 1-gallon zipper-lock bag; set aside. Combine chicken broth, orange juice, grated zest, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in large saucepan (with at least 3-quart capacity); whisk until sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup mixture and pour into bag with chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes, but no longer.
Bring remaining mixture in saucepan to boil over high heat. In small bowl, stir together cornstarch and cold water; whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in orange peel and chiles (sauce should measure 1 1/2 cups); set sauce aside.
FOR THE COATING: Place egg whites in pie plate; using fork, beat until frothy. In second pie plate, whisk cornstarch, cayenne, and baking soda until combined. Drain chicken in colander or large mesh strainer; thoroughly pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of chicken pieces in egg whites and turn to coat; transfer pieces to cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place dredged chicken pieces on wire rack set over baking sheet; repeat with remaining chicken.
TO FRY THE CHICKEN: Heat oil in 11- to 12-inch Dutch oven or straight-sided saute pan with at least 3-quart capacity over high heat until oil registers 350 degrees on instant-read or deep-fry thermometer. Carefully place half of chicken in oil one piece at a time; fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to large plate lined with paper towels. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken.
TO SERVE: Reheat sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve immediately
I served mine with brown rice. Artie asked where the cheesecake was after dinner...I about fell out of my chair! Haha...he was just kidding since it took so long to prepare.
Just a few more days left! I have been keeping myself busy with the party preparations. I can't wait to share it all with you! Have a great day everyone!