Author and blogger Stephanie O'Dea, whose new book is 365 Slow Cooker Suppers, always keeps a can or two of orange-juice or lemonade concentrate in her freezer, and not just for when she unexpectedly ends up with a crowd at her house. She finds these handy ingredients are great for slow-cooker meals: Since meat and vegetables give off so much juice as they cook, O'Dea doesn't like to add too much liquid to the dish—and the concentrates deliver a punch of flavor without extra liquid. Her Orange Chicken is a great example; the sauce is tangy, not at all soupy and delicious over brown rice.
Serves 3 to 4
Note: Use a 4-quart slow cooker for best results.
Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Go ahead and throw away any remaining flour; we won't need it. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook the chicken, just sear it enough for the flour to stick to and coat it nicely.
Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange-juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.
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Published on August 19, 2013