Friday, September 24, 2010

Recipes Revisited: Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is one of the first recipes I cooked for myself on a regular basis.Originally from my house mate's copy of "The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" (still one of my go-to cookbooks), I have made this several ways over the years, including in a crock pot. For the slow cooker version, I put the chicken parts in a steamer basket, pour the sauce over them, and then thicken the sauce in the end as described in the recipe.

Like the white sauce (another originally from BHG) that I posted recently, this was originally a saucepan recipe because back in 1980 something no one had a microwave. But it's faster, easier and a simpler clean up in the microwave.

Bone-in chicken thighs are meaty and won't dry out, especially in the slow cooker version.

This is one of SC's favorite meals and she has some of it in a thermos container for her lunch today. No pineapple though, she doesn't like it at all, and for some reason JR doesn't like it in this. But I love the combination of the fruit with the sauce, and would happily eat it over rice even WITHOUT the chicken!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken thighs--2 to 3 pounds worth, bone in and skin on.
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup soy sauce (low sodium if possible)
1/2 tsp ground or minced ginger(bottled ginger is available in many stores and is great)
1 tsp minced garlic(always have a big bottle of this in my fridge)
1-2 Tbsp corn starch
1-2 Tbsp water
1 16 oz can pineapple chunks (juice pack)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F

Combine 1 Tbsp each of the corn starch and water in a small bowl or jar--a jar is best because you can shake it to blend it.

Combine everything except the corn starch and water in a large, microwave safe glass bowl or measuring cup.
Stir well to blend. Add in the cornstarch/water and mix well.

Place in the microwave with something to cover it--allow for venting. Heat for 2 minute intervals, stirring each time till the sauce begins to thicken. If it takes too long, you can add a second more cornstarch/water mix, but it should be done in about 5 minutes. Watch this--it makes a mess if it boils over.

Place chicken parts skin side up in a large, broiler safe baking pan. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Turn chicken and pour the remaining sauce of it. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven. If you are going to finish by broiling, turn on your broiler.
Turn the chicken back to skin side up.Add drained pineapple chunks and spoon the sauce over everything.

Place under broiler until chicken skin starts to brown nicely.
Bake chicken an additional 10 minutes.

The sauce may be thin. You can remove the chicken and fruit to a plate, pour the sauce back into a microwave safe container, and heat it in the microwave again for 5 minutes or so, adding a bit more cornstarch/water mix if needed.

Serve this over rice, of course!

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