What do you do with a tin of mandarin oranges and a pile of chicken thighs? You turn it into a dish of orange chicken, and surprise the family with a delicious new twist on chicken thighs!
Orange chicken thighs – a new twist on chicken
Succulent sticky chicken thighs, with a crispy baked skin, covered in a delicious orange and onion sauce. This chicken is so full of flavour it should be illegal.
The key to all the flavour lies in a simple tin of mandarin orange segments. The chicken is placed on a bed of chopped vegetables, covered with the contents of the entire tin, including the juice, and then baked in the oven. As it bakes the orange juice permeates the chicken, giving it a delicious citrus flavour and the juice combines with the vegetables and chicken juices to form a mouthwatering, delicious gravy.
You can serve this with baby potatoes and your favourite vegetables, or why not pile the chicken on a bed of rice and cover with the sauce. Either way, you will have a meal that will have the whole family coming back for seconds.
How to make orange chicken thighs
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make orange chicken on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
You will need the following ingredients
Chicken thighs – you could also use chicken drumsticks. If you want to use chicken breasts I would recommend you get the ones with the skin still on, as the crispy skin is an essential part of this dish. Depending on the size of the thighs, I would allow 2 to 3 per person.
Mandarin orange segments – you will need a 312g tin, including the juice.
Carrots and onions – these are used for resting the chicken on as it cooks, to keep it above the juices. Once cooked, the carrots are removed to a serving dish and served as a side vegetable.
Garlic and ginger – you can use fresh if you prefer. I find that bottled works just as well, and is much more convenient.
- Start by peeling and chopping the carrots and onions. Cut the carrots 1/2 in strips and slice the onions thinly. You will need sufficient carrots to be served as a side dish and one large onion, which should yield approximately 1 cup of thin slices.
- Next cut and excess skin away from the chicken thighs, and trim of any visible fat. Discard.
- Drain the orange juice into a jug and add 1 teaspoon crushed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger. Stir to combine .
- Arrange the chopped vegetables in a large roasting tin, and place the chicken thighs on top (image 1 above). Sprinkle the chicken skin with a little salt.
- Pour the orange juice and garlic over the chicken. Top with the orange segments (image 2 above).
- Cover with a lid or a sheet of tinfoil. If using tinfoil, fold the edges over tightly to seal well.
- Place the chicken in a pre-heated oven (200C / 400F) for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes remove the chicken from the oven (image 3 above). Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Remove the carrots to a serving dish and keep warm. Then pour the juices, including the oranges and onions into a saucepan (image 4 above).
Brown the chicken and thicken the sauce
- Replace the chicken thighs into the baking dish, skin side up. Turn the oven up to grill or broil and place the chicken pieces back in the oven so that they can brown. Keep your eye on them – they will burn easily. The chicken skin should turn brown and crispy in about 5 minutes. Once it has browned, remove from the oven.
- To thicken the gravy mix a teaspoon of cornflour to a paste with a little water and stir a little at a time into the gravy, stirring over a low heat, until the desired consistency is reached.
- If you like a smooth gravy, you can blend it in a blender before serving. I prefer the chunkiness of the onions in the gravy so I don’t bother to do this.
Serve with vegetables or rice and pour the gravy over.
Convert grams to cups
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If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read about how to do this in this post on baking at high altitudes.
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Recipe – Orange Chicken with a tangy sauce
Orange Chicken with a tangy sauce
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Roasting pan
- 8 large chicken thighs allow 2 to 3 thighs per person
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot If serving the carrots as a vegetable then add more carrots.
- 312 g tin mandarin oranges including the juice
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon cornflour / cornstarch mixed to a thin paste with a little water.
- Peel and chop the vegetables.
- Trim any excess skin and fat from the chicken thighs.
- Drain the orange juice into a jug and mix with 1 teaspoon garlic and 1/2 teaspoon ginger.
- Arrange the chopped vegetables i a roasting tin and place the chicken thighs on top.
- Sprinkle the chicken skin with a little salt.
- Pour the orange juice over the chicken then arrange the orange segments on top
- Cover with a lid or a sheet of tinfoil and bake in a preheated oven (200°C/400°F) for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken pieces to a plate.
- If you intend serving the carrots as a side vegetable, remove the carrots and place in a serving dish.
- Pour the juices from the roasting tray (including the oranges and onions) into a saucepan. Thicken with a little cornflour mixed with a splash of water if necessary.
- Return the chicken to the roasting tray and place the uncovered tray back in the oven for 5 minutes to allow the skin to brown and crisp. Keep your eye on it, it burns easily.
- Serve with potatoes and fresh vegetables, or on a bed of rice and pour the gravy over.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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