Right here (along with a backyard dance party) is one of my favorite things about this time of year. Everything is in bloom, we’re back to being barefoot in the backyard and we’ve been working together every afternoon this week planting our garden. All of our neighbors have been out doing the same, talking over the fence (often in funny hand motions for me when I don’t know the Croatian words!), handing babies and Lubica’s homemade cakes and our first rose blooms back and forth over it. Our internet has been down this week, and to be honest, it’s been a nice break. Maybe you’re like me and find yourself needing to take an online break now and then. We’ve also had some of our friends and old neighbors from Monterey here with their three kids. Thanks for the fun times these past days, Barnett family!
On Monday night I brought dinner outside on the lawn and that’s how we’ve eaten together every night since. Al fresco dinners are back!! This recipe shot up our favorites list a couple weeks ago when I first made it. Baking chicken in fresh orange juice, agave and garlic keeps it tender and full of so much flavor, and is a healthy version of Chinese orange chicken. I hope you enjoy it. Dobar tek and happy weekend!
Baked Orange Chicken
2 oranges (about 1 C squeezed fresh juice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 – 3/4 C agave
about 2 lbs / 1 kilo fresh chicken tenders
1 C plain bread crumbs (you can substitute a gluten-free flour if needbe!)
1 tsp fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, 185 C.
Squeeze both oranges into a bowl (if some of the pulp gets in there, even better) and combine with the fresh garlic, a pinch of salt and agave syrup (if you substitute with honey use less – about 1/4 to 1/2 C). It makes all the difference if you use fresh garlic instead of jarred, as well as fresh oranges over bottled orange juice. I’ve tried 1/2 C and a 3/4 C of agave – we prefer 3/4 C so it’s sweeter, but it’s really up to you! Set the orange sauce aside.
Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl and combine the breadcrumbs and salt in another. After rinsing and patting dry the chicken, dip it first in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place in a large baking dish. Once all of the chicken is breaded and in the dish, pour the orange sauce over it so each piece is covered, reserving about 1/2 C. Set the remaining sauce aside and bake the chicken uncovered for about 30-35 minutes. I have a convection oven here in Zagreb so mine always cooks faster, around 25 minutes at the most. Begin checking yours (if you do not use a convection oven) at 25-30 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook. It should be lightly browned and crunchy on top with clear juices running out when cut. Pour the remaining orange sauce on top, it should end up being like a glaze. Serve immediately. It’s wonderful with a green salad with white wine vinaigrette and a dry white wine or a Chardonnay. Enjoy!!