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Nutty Orange Chicken with Rice
Recipe courtesy of Mike Kim
Get this recipe and more with the official MasterChef Cookbook
As the winner of the Invention Test, Mike received an important advantage: the ability to choose his team members for the next challenge. Mike's stir-fry blew away the rest of the pack. In Gordon's words, the dish was "head and shoulders above the competition."
About his method of searing the chicken breasts wrapped in foil, Mike says, "A chef once told me about this technique: Before searing the chicken breast, make a collar of foil and create an oval ring. This allows the skin to cook longer and become really crispy, without overcooking the breast meat."
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade or quality store-bought
- 3 mandarin oranges, unpeeled
- 2 whole star anise
- 4 (6-ounce) boneless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder (See Special Note)*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced
- 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, halved, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 2 dried red chiles
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 2 tablespoons cashews
- 3/4 pound green beans
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Combine the rice and 2 cups of the broth in a pot over medium heat. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1 of the oranges, taking care to just get the skin and none of the bitter white pith, then add the zest strips to the rice.
Set the orange aside. Add 1 star anise to the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Tear off four 12-inch pieces of aluminum foil and form each into an oval ring about the size of the chicken breasts. Season both sides of the chicken breasts generously with the five-spice powder, salt, and pepper. Set the chicken inside the ring, skin side down, and form the foil so it fits snuggly around the chicken like a collar.
Coat an ovenproof skillet with 2 tablespoons of the oil and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, lay the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Only the skin should be touching the pan, not the meat itself. Sear the chicken skin for 5 minutes, or until crisp and light brown.
Remove the chicken from the pan and remove the foil ring. Put the chicken back in the pan, skin side up. Transfer the chicken to the oven to finish cooking for 15 to 20 minutes. In the meantime make the stir-fry.
Slice the remaining 2 unpeeled oranges into paper-thin slices. Toss the slices with 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons peanut oil into a large skillet or wok and place over high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, quickly fry the orange slices for 3 to 5 minutes. Frying removes the bitterness from the skin, and the slices become crispy so you can eat them whole. The oil will spatter a bit. Carefully remove the orange slices and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Their shape should remain intact.
Keep the pan on the heat. Stir-fry the ginger, garlic, scallions, peppers, chiles, peanuts, cashews, and the remaining star anise. Add the green beans and season with salt and pepper. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup broth with the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add it to the pan. Squeeze in the juice of the reserved orange (about 1 tablespoon) along with the soy sauce and vinegar. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and the vegetables are tender.
To serve, slice the chicken breasts on the bias. Mound the rice on 4 plates and put a few spoonfuls of the vegetable stir-fry on top, making sure to get a bit of everything. Layer the chicken slices in an overlapping pattern on top, skin side up, and garnish with the fried orange slices. Drizzle with any remaining sauce.
Chinese Five-Spice Powder
This aromatic blend of spices combines the five primary flavors of Chinese cuisine: sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and salty. Typically made from star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and peppercorns, five-spice powder can be used in virtually everything from fish, pork, and poultry to vegetable and rice dishes. It can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores and at Asian food markets.