You ever get halfway through a recipe and realize you are missing an ingredient? Or cross your fingers and hope an ingredient swap will actually work?? Happens to me ALL the time. I improvise, and move on with my life.
We were supposed to be making Orange flavored chicken wings. Didn’t have wings, had thighs. Couldn’t finish them in the oven as the recipe instructed because something else was in the oven, so cooked them fully on the stove. Didn’t have enough orange zest to make a 2nd batch of sauce, so used dried lemon peel. We botched neatly every ingredient, every step, and every instruction. And it was one of the best dinner’s we’d had in a while.
I give you Citrus Chicken, which I’ll bet turned out better than the original recipe for whatever it was we thought we were making:
3-4 tsp oil
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
4 shallots, minced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup orange juice
grated zest of one orange, or 1 tsp dried lemon peel, or any combination of the two
1 cup chicken broth, or water, or white wine, or any combination of those
optional – chopped fresh herbs to garnish, such as fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint
heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan and brown the chicken thighs, in two batches. As they are browning, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle cinnamon and coriander over top.
While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. In a saucepan, saute the shallots in 1 tbsp oil. After two minutes, add the garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the orange juice and the citrus zest. If there is any available chicken fat in the pan you are cooking the thighs in, add that to the sauce. Add the broth/water/wine (I usually use mostly broth and a big splash of wine), and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil over medium or medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until cooked down to a sauce-like consistency. Stir often, when you stir and the bottom of the pot doesn’t cover over with sauce immediately, it is getting close to being done.
Serve the chicken thighs smothered with the sauce.