Friday, November 7, 2008

Maple-Orange Chicken with Acorn Squash and Sweet Potatoes

What a mouthful that title is.

This is from Food Network's site, one of Robin Miller's recipes.

1 small to medium acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 leeks, rinsed and chopped
5 skinless chicken breast halves (with or without the bone)
salt and ground black pepper
1 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Place squash and sweet potatoes and leeks in the slow cooker. Season chicken all over with salt and black pepper and place on top of vegetables in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine orange marmalade and remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Que Christina's entrance --
Whoa - if I thought trying to separate microwaved acorn squash from its skin was a hard task, I was sadly mistaken. This was a TOUGH one. I eventually got in a rythm of cutting it into little wedges and standing them on their flat side, peeling downwards with the knife. Similiar to how you'd separate a watermelon from its rind - but 8 times harder.

For the leeks, I saw a tip of how to cut and rinse them once on TV. They're usually very gritty so you slice them lengthwise, in half. Then just ribbon open the little layers under running water and shake dry before cutting them.

I omitted the orange marmalade because I'm not a fan of overly sweet foods and this just didn't sound appetizing to me. Plus, we don't have any on hand and I wasn't going to buy a whole jar of something to just use once in a recipe. Instead, I took a medium bowl and poured about 3/4 cup of orange juice into it. Then a little more than a tablespoon of maple syrup, the real stuff. I swapped the chicken broth for vegetable and added it.

Hoisin sauce sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. I did some googling and it's a Chinese dipping sauce, traditionally made from sweet potato. Wikipedia had a quick overview of the ingredients and I saw vinegar and garlic. So I added about a tablespoon of rice vinegar, which I find milder than other vinegars and minced a clove of garlic. Like any true chef would do, I stirred up this seemingly gross sounding concoction and had a taste before I added it to the dish.

Surprisingly - it was delicious!! Great sign - so I dumped it over and turned the crock pot on!

Johnny liked the fall vegetables a lot. The chicken was a bit dry. But again, like the other chicken crock pot recipe, I just can't swallow that orange flavor in the background so I'm really glad I didn't add the marmalade. If I had to make it again I'd add a lot less orange juice and definitely more maple syrup, as you couldn't taste any in the final product. Maybe more stock, too. The liquid level seemed to be a bit low, so the chicken almost steamed. Ah, but it is what it is. I'll throw this up anyways for any of you who think you'd like it, or to experiment around. The vegetables weren't that bad. Just needs some flavor tweaking and maybe a different meat that wouldn't dry out.


Nowheymama said...

I'm proud of you for not being afraid to alter recipes!

I thought hoisin sauce was made from soybeans...?

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Loooove sweet potatoes!! :0)

Christina said...

Nowheymama - wikipedia said Mandarin-style hoisin had soybeans, but traditional hoisin had sweet potatoes.