My first pet was a cat named Geddy who was a tabby-Siamese mix. He was orange and white like a tabby, but his short hair, markings and face (and his loud, demanding meow) reflected his Siamese heritage. He was so sweet that we often called him the “orange creamsicle.” Don’t you remember those orange popsicles with the cream inside? We had to put Geddy to sleep almost 3 years ago and I still miss him. He was an irreplaceable value to me.
Anyway, I’m a sucker for orange and cream now. This recipe is just a modification of something I found in Joy of Cooking, but I made it up in honor of my old cat. I don’t like sweet dishes much, but this one turned out delicious, with just a hint of orange/citrus. It was cheap and easy and I loved every bite. This one’s for you, Geddy!
Orange Cream Chicken Drumsticks
Enough chicken drumsticks (or other parts you like) to fit in your biggest frying pan (I got 9 drumsticks in mine, probably about 2 pounds?)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1-2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon honey
Pinch of allspice
1 cup chicken stock (or less, to taste)
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (I used a lazy squeeze of one whole orange)
1/4 cup heavy cream (I might have used more)
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper
Season your chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until golden and fragrant. (I used the vegetable oil as recommended this time instead of my usual olive oil but I’m sure you can substitute any fat you like.)
Arrange chicken pieces skin side down in a single layer in the pan. Fry until the chicken is nicely browned on the bottom and detaches itself easily from the pan, about 6 minutes. Turn and repeat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the chicken, turning often, until the dark meat pieces excude clear juices when pricked, about 20 minutes more. (I had to do it more like 40, including some time with the lid on the pan, but I had reduced the heat to medium-low to keep the fat from burning. You must use your judgement, here.)
Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil (or put in a low oven) to keep warm.
Leave the fat in the pan, keeping the heat at medium, and add your garlic, honey, and allspice. Saute for a couple of minutes.
Increase the heat to high and add 1/2 cup chicken stock and the orange juice. This is where you need to use your judgment about how much liquid to add. The idea is to scrape the bottom of the pan for all the good brown stuff and boil the liquid for a while (5 minutes or so?) until you have a nice, condensed, fatty, tasty liquid of about 1/2 cup. I like a concentrated taste and reducing seems to take much longer than recipes call for, so I add less liquid, but the recipe called for a full cup so you might need it.
Then, add 1/4 cup heavy cream. I didn’t measure, but I think I used about that amount or maybe a bit more. Again, this is the art part. Add enough to make it creamy, but not enough to dilute the flavor. I like cream.
Boil until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes (don’t let it boil too much…keep stirring.)
Add the vinegar and stir. Add salt and pepper and any other seasonings to taste. Right now, the sauce should taste STRONG. Remember, you are not eating it straight. If it is bland, you need to reduce and add spices.
Once you have a strong, absolutely delicious sauce, turn off the heat, pour it into a cup, and serve it with the chicken.
I’m trying to reduce carbs now, but this is one dish that goes well with mashed potatoes or anything else that you like to sop up sauce with.