For several years, we’ve been using Sally’s GF Orange Peel Chicken recipe as one of our go-to recipes when we had a Chinese take-out craving. It’s a very yummy recipe.
This week, as we were brainstorming meal ideas on the way to the grocery store, one of us remembered Orange Peel Chicken. Once it was mentioned, we had to have it! But then I went to the recipe and realize that it was not at all Paleo friendly. A half a cup of sugar plus fried chicken just did not need to happen that night.
Instead, I came up with a more paleo, primal friendly recipe by replacing the sugar with half as much honey plus orange juice. The recipe is also a bit more RV friendly, since I substituted red pepper flakes for the sriracha sauce in the original recipe. Our fridge is very small and there is not any room for ingredients that are not used frequently!
The recipe received rave reviews on the first night and the leftover night. The kids were a bit puzzled about eating orange peel, since we would generally throw that away. However, they were not so puzzled that they didn’t eat supper.
Since I was not sure how our kids would like this recipe, I prepared their plates with rice and chicken only. I had added enough red pepper flakes to the sauce that it didn’t seem wise to add additional sauce to their servings. The adult plates had cauliflower pilaf, then chicken, and then a big ladle full of sauce. Everyone was happy!
Paleo Friendly Gluten Free Orange Peel Chicken
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 head of garlic, minced (yes, you read that right)
2 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
8 oz. water
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced or very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. tamari
1/4 c. honey
Peel of two oranges, julienned
Juice of two oranges
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 – 5 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ pieces
Start by preparing the sauce. In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir frequently so that the oil becomes seasoned, but the garlic does not burn. Then add all of the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer while you prepare the chicken.
Heat the coconut oil for the chicken in a large skillet and add the chicken pieces once it’s hot. Let the chicken cook on one side until it’s begun to brown and then flip the chicken pieces over to cook on the other side. Once all sides are at least white, spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Use just enough to give the chicken some color and flavor. Once the chicken pieces are completely cooked through the center, you can turn the heat off and prepare to serve. Or, if you would like, keep the heat on and add a splash of tamari and a drizzle of honey to the chicken and give that a few tosses before turning off the heat.
Notes on the oranges: I peel the oranges with a knife, attempting to get the peel off in one long strip. Then I move the peel to my cutting board and julienne the peel lengthwise, so that I end up with long thin strips of orange peel. I add these to the sauce, and then squeeze the juice from the peeled oranges directly into the sauce.
Notes on the chicken: This recipe makes a lot of sauce. Since I had cooked the sauce separately, we put the sauce leftovers in the refrigerator and then used it later in the week with freshly cooked chicken. The amount of chicken that you choose to use should be based on what you think your family will eat for that meal. Since the sauce and chicken are not cooked together, the relative proportions of each are not as important. This recipe made enough sauce for two generous suppers for our family of five.