Saturday, December 4, 2010

0 Recipe #207: Crispy Cointreau Chicken

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This dish is a fusion of Indian, Chinese, and French cuisines. It's little bit spicy, a little sweet, and a little salty. The recipe plays with the warm flavors of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove, and the sweet, tart, and fruity flavors of orange, lemon, and Cointreau.

Crispy Cointreau Chicken

1/2 lb. (8 oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast, rinsed, defatted, tendons removed, and patted dry
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1" piece)
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled and finely minced (about 2 large cloves)
1/4 c. shallots, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 large shallot)
1 fresh, large bay leaf (or dried, if unavailable)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1/8 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes (or 1/16 tsp, a dash, if you prefer less heat)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 c. orange juice
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 eggs, beaten (with a fork)
1/4 c. corn starch

Directions: Place rinsed, defatted chicken on a clean, non-porous surface. Cut chicken into 1 1/2" thick strips. Cover with plastic wrap and tenderize, pounding with the bumpy, textured end of a meat mallet until 1/8" thick. Set aside.

Next, sauté ginger, garlic, shallots, and bay leaf in olive oil in a large (12-13") sauté pan on low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Evenly sprinkle with all of the spices (cinnamon, cardamom, clove, red chili pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt) from a good distance above the pan (for better distribution). Deglaze with Cointreau, orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice, and soy sauce, reducing liquids to a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.

While the sauce is reducing, quickly dip a piece of chicken into a bowl of beaten eggs, coating both sides. Gently shake off excess, and then place into a plastic/Ziploc bag filled with corn starch, seal bag, and then shake to coat chicken. (The corn starch can also be placed in a bowl, but it makes it harder to coat the chicken after a few dips. ;) Corn starch tends to stick to the sides of the bowls, and, after your hands have become coated with egg from the dipping, this can make it a bit harder to bread the chicken. ;) ) Shake off excess corn starch and transfer chicken piece from the bag into the pan, spacing pieces far enough apart so as not to crowd the pan. Repeat this process until all chicken has been breaded and placed into the pan. Cook chicken for a few minutes per side, until breaded exterior turns golden brown on both sides. Watch the pan carefully as tenderized chicken doesn't take very long to cook through and brown, 2-3 minutes at most. When ready, remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Divide into equal portions, transfer to plates, and serve immediately.

Serve with brown basmati rice &/or a vegetable side dish.

Yield: 2 servings.

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