Monday, 16 November 2015

Orange and Hoisin Glazed Chicken Legs

This tasty chicken dish came about because the bag of oranges I had bought were not the best for eating...the membranes between the flesh were quite tough. There was a lot of juice, sweetness and flavour to them though, and there were only 4 left. I wanted to do something other than just drink the juice from these last oranges, so I combined it with the last of my hoisin sauce to make a sweet, citrus marinade.

The sugars in both caramelized during the cooking, glazing the chicken legs, while combining with the pan juices to make a sauce. The meat was tender and moist, the skin was crispy...hard to believe it was so easy to make.

To make the marinade, combine in a resealable plastic bag:

Juice of 4 oranges
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Add the chicken legs to the bag, and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. You will need:

5 bone in, skin on, chicken legs

Leave the chicken in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours before cooking it. This will allow the marinade to tenderize, and the flavours time to penetrate, the meat. Turn the oven on to 350F.

Place the chicken legs into an ovenproof dish.

Pour the marinade over the chicken

Place into the oven to bake.

Every 20 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and baste the chicken with the marinade and juices that are in the bottom of the dish. The second time you do this, drain most of the liquid from the dish, saving it for future basting. This allows the skin to start crisping up.

 Continue to baste the chicken, and drain any excess liquid from the dish until the chicken is fully cooked.

Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Skim the fat from the top of the reserved pan juices, and discard it. Bring the pan juices to a boil, allowing them to reduce down for your sauce.

Sprinkle the chicken legs with toasted sesame seeds to serve. I served the chicken legs with basmati rice, garlic broccoli and Asian slaw. The sauce can be passed separately, or drizzled over the chicken and rice.

  • Add the zest from one of the oranges to increase the intensity of the orange flavour in your marinade. 
  • If you are not juicing oranges, but using purchased juice, you will need about 3/4 cup of juice for this recipe.
  • A combination of any citrus can be, lemon, lime, grapefruit.
  • To increase the glaze, honey can also be added to the marinade. I would only add 1 - 2 teaspoons, as both the orange and hoisin are sweet. If you are using lemon or lime juice, you can add extra honey.
  • The small amount of soy sauce adds enough salt; more can be added at the table as needed. The saltiness increases as the marinade reduces, both in the oven and in the pot when making the sauce.
  • I use tamari instead of regular soy sauce. Tamari is usually gluten free, as it is made without wheat. Always double check the labels to be sure if you are on a gluten free diet. I use tamari because I find the flavour to be richer, denser and more complex, as well as less salty than regular soy sauce. The choice is yours, use whichever you prefer.
  • The chicken can be grilled, basting every 10 minutes to maintain moistness and add flavour.
  • This recipe can be used to roast whole chickens, chicken wings or drumsticks. The cooking time will need to be adjusted accordingly. 
  • The marinade can also be used for pork tenderloin, or for basting salmon while baking or grilling.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce than just reduced pan juices, mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with orange juice to make a runny paste and whisk this into the boiling sauce just before serving. Add half to begin with, and if you would like the sauce a bit thicker, then add the rest.
  • The leftover meat was removed from the bones, and used to  make wraps for lunch. It can also be used for things like rice or noodle bowls; chicken salad; added to a salad.

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