Monthly Mystery Munchies #25: Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme was difficult. I felt like a thief… A really confused thief, but I had theeee best time playing around with recipes. Ann from Grubbs n Critters, who is my sweet dear friend and my Monthly Mystery Munchies partner-slash-best-blogging-friend, suggested we do a recipe swap. How much fun!? Too much (there is no such thing!). The idea is to take a recipe the other has made over the last 24 months, and make it our own. I am easily confused, I openly admit, and I suck at making decisions, especially when all the options are fantastic. There were two I wanted to make, but I didn’t have the heart to change the first one in any way, so I decided to make Ann’s baked chicken cutlets in orange-plum sauce. It’s settled.

Or is it? No, apparently not. I made the recipe and I was like, really? How am I supposed to change this? How can I improve it? No pressure! I decided to try orange-pomegranate instead of orange-plum, and I was pretty happy with the results. I swapped Worcestershire sauce with balsamic vinegar, and baked the chicken breasts in the fruit and honey while frying the veggies. I was definitely apprehensive about this dish, because I genuinely didn’t want to change anything, but this is exactly why we do it – to challenge ourselves, and each other, and sometimes my husband, who has to put up with my to-ing and fro-ing and “but do you think it will taste as good?”, or “I’m definitely sticking with this recipe” until 5 minutes later “maybe I should try another one instead?”, the next day “what if I try granadillas instead?”. Bless. He deserves a medal, but since he got several of Ann’s delicious meals over the course of three weeks, I think he’ll be fine.

Ann has undoubtedly produced something amazing. She always does, every month, without fail. Please check it out here. Ann, thank you so much for your wonderful suggestion this month. Although this was the hardest one to date, I enjoyed it immensely!

Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

  • Difficulty: Dude, it's easy
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Supplies:

For the chicken marinade:

4 boneless, skinned chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
80g pomegranate seeds
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the veggies and rice:

1 onion, chopped
1 green, yellow, and red pepper, sliced
150g baby tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish
Brown and wild rice to serve

Making It Happen:

First check how long your rice will take to cook. Time it so that it’s cooked as soon as the chicken comes out of the oven (30 minutes).

Mix the balsamic vinegar, pomegranate seeds, orange juice, zest, honey and turmeric. Marinade the chicken for an hour or longer. Remove from the fridge half an hour before cooking, and let it come to room temperature. Cook in a preheated oven on 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes. At this stage, cook your rice.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the baby tomatoes, puree and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper, and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the fried veggies, and serve with the baked chicken. Garnish with coriander and serve.

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Monthly Mystery Munchies #7: Fish with Orange and Dark Chocolate Soy Sauce Reduction

Orange dark choc soy sauce 8This month, I racked my brain (therefore concluding that I do, in fact, have one, albeit hidden under blonde) as to what to cook for November’s Monthly Mystery Munchies. We haven’t done a fish dish yet, and I wanted to do something with a difference, so the theme was fish with an ingredient/s not commonly used. Ann from Grubbs n Critters was happy to do this theme, although we were both initially stumped. Now that I had a theme, I had the challenge of deciding what to use as my surprise ingredient. Fish with a soy sauce reduction is quite a popular choice, but it wasn’t original, intriguing if you will. I liked the idea but needed to add a ‘wow’ factor. I love citrus anything, so I added orange juice and rind, and then chocolate, because why not? It sounds incredibly strange, bizarre, maybe even more ‘ew’ than ‘wow’. But this is why Ann and I do our monthly challenge – we push our boundaries, we try new things, and we learn, and it’s a lot of fun.

In trying to get the reduction portions right, I attempted it with rump steak and bone-in chicken breasts too. The first attempt was an important learning curve – the chocolate was unnoticeable. Bummer. Much disappointment. I was so looking forward to having dinner and dessert in one dish. I initially only used dark chocolate, but it was time to up my game. Enter cocoa powder. Now we’re talking! Or rather, not talking, because my mouth was pretty full. I also decided to use cayenne pepper because I love a bite. Right, now that the orange, dark chocolate, cayenne and soy were to my liking, it was time to pair it with fish. But what fish? So many options. I tried two – Cape yellowtail and hake. Yellowtail is a ‘fishier’ fish whereas hake is more mild. The Husband and I enjoyed both, and it’s entirely dependant on your personal preference. I lean towards hake, he leans towards yellowtail. The important fact is that the reduction perfectly compliments both. As I mentioned earlier, this reduction may be used with both chicken and steak, but there’s something about using it with fresh fish that has a je nes se qua.

Please head over to Grubbs n Critters to see Ann’s wonderful interpretation of this month’s theme! She always brings her A-game and this month is no exception! She made dory fish with a creamy golden kiwi sauce. Kiwis! It seems we were vibing from afar, both using fruit. What a delicious-looking and sounding dish! Well done, Ann, and thank you so much for being such a good sport about, let’s face it, a weird and difficult challenge!

Fish with Orange and Dark Chocolate Soy Sauce Reduction

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Orange dark choc soy sauce 1 3½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange rind
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
30g chopped dark chocolate
4 pieces filleted fish (I used Yellowtail and hake)
Butter for frying

 

Making it happen:

Orange dark choc soy sauce 61. Combine all the ingredients, except the dark chocolate and butter, in a pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes, stir in the dark chocolate until melted. Allow the sauce to cool.

 

Orange dark choc soy sauce 4 12. Put the fish in a freezer bag and pour the cooled reduction over it. Refrigerate for an hour.

 

 

20151108_202240 13. Remove from the fridge. On medium heat, using a large pan, melt the butter (about 2 tablespoons) and add the fish to the pan, pouring the remaining sauce over it. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side. This is dependent on the thickness of the fish, so check the fish after 3 minutes.

 

Orange dark choc soy sauce 114. Remove from the pan and serve hot. You can pair this with baked potatoes, savoury rice or chips.