Duck a l’Orange is fancy. Really fancy. Like, classy old movie, white tablecloth restaurant, waiter with a fake French accent, and Humphrey Bogart yelling “Garcon!” fancy. Chicken a l’Orange is also fancy. Just not quite as fancy. Maybe more like a nice evening at home with candles left from last year’s tornado season stuck in a bottle fancy.
This take on the French classic is heavy on the orange, but has the sweetness cut with a measure of lemon juice, and with red wine vinegar in the final sauce. It’s orange-y, rich, a little sweet, a little sour, and still – despite the emergency candle and the old wine bottle – feels pretty darned fancy. This recipe is a little fussier than many of my recipes, but the results are delicious and feel just a little luxurious.
Chicken Thighs a l’OrangeCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
A chicken thigh version of the French classic.
4 bone in skin on chicken thighs
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Juice of one lemon.
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 oz Grand Marnier or other orange brandy (opt)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp softened butter
1 medium shallot
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from one orange.
- Slice the orange peel into long thin strips.
- Use a microplane to remove the zest from the second orange.
- Juice the oranges, adding additional juice if necessary, to make 1 cup of juice.
- Season the chicken thighs well with salt.
- Peel, trim, and slice the shallot
- In an oven proof pan, sear the thighs skin side down until well browned.
- Turn skin side up and arrange in the pan.
- Arrange the shallot and thyme in the pan with the chicken.
- Add the chicken stock, lemon juice, and orange juice and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer the pan into the oven to cook for ~45 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, add the vinegar, microplaned zest, and sugar to a pan over medium heat.
- Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reduced to about 3 tbsp.
- Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the oven.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, and strain the liquid through a fine strainer or cheese cloth to remove the solids.
- Add the vinegar mixture, the brandy (if using), and julienned orange peel to the pan with the strained liquid and cook over medium high heat until thickened and reduced to about ½ cup.
- Return the chicken to the pan to warm.
- To serve, plate the chicken pieces, swirl 2 tbsp softened butter into the sauce, season with white pepper, and spoon over the chicken.