Mandarin Orange Glazed Chicken served with Barely Buzzed Cheese and Fresh Farmer’s Market Salad

11 05 2009
A Durn' Good Impromtu Dinner!

A Durn' Good Impromptu Dinner!

Now doesn’t that picture look like fantastic? Wouldn’t you have thought some sort of plan went into this. But noooooo.  It started simple: a salad.  I bought the first spinach of the season I’ve seen and some pea shoots to make into a simple salad continuing my attempt to work greens into my palate.  I usually don’t cook/prepare food on Monday because I have class till 7:45 pm and I’m usually tired and hungry.  Tonight wasn’t really any different except the sous chef wasn’t immediately returning my calls about her location and dinner plans.  So I went home and decided to make the salad and maybe cook some other not exciting food for dinner.  But than she called… Which is always nice but in this particular case she had the protein in the food relationship.

A few weeks ago I had baked some chicken breasts and diced them up for a future endeavour.  So I had her break them free from the freezer and start thawing the small chunks for their future in our bellies.  The sous chef also had bought some small purple skinned carrots for something that were in my fridge. I had got them out to take to her but instead I decided to cut 2 larger ones and a smaller one up to add to the salad.  I also bought some radishes for another food adventure but I decided the salad was a good cause and so I sliced one into slivers to add to the salad. Now we were getting somewhere. I found 2 Granny Smith apples in my fridge that had no destiny so I diced those up and threw them on the salad too. About 1/2 of an apple overall.  I put the lid on and off I went to the sous chef’s apartment for dinner remembering to pack the salad dressing too!

Not 5 minutes after I arrived I remembered what I had in my cupboard: mandarin oranges in a can.  There were 5 cans from a split Costco box run earlier in the month and I kept thinking about salad off and on.  So I conned the Sous Chef into riding along with me back the 2 blocks to my apartment to get some lovely mandarin oranges for our salad and by the time we got back to her place 10 minute later I had an even better plan…

After a few minutes in the microwave to thaw the pre-cooked chicken it found itself in a frying pan with a few table spoons of olive oil and the juice from the mandarin orange can! I cooked the chicken in the juice until it reduced to nothing and then tossed the chicken and the mandarin oranges proper in a bowl together and served them on a small bed of the salad! What an idea this turned out to be!

Lastly the Sous Chef had bought some fancy cheese at a local cheese making place and we served a few slices of it with the rest of dinner.  This cheese has/had some sort of coffee/lavender rind as this image tells you about so it added some lovely color to the cheese sticks.

Barely Buzzed Cheese & Info

Barely Buzzed Cheese & Info

So how did this really unplanned dinner turn out? Amazing! The salad was great with the fresh spinach and pea shoots.  The cheese was just as good as the last time we had some but the real winner was the chicken.  Not only was it kind of ridiculously simple (precooked chicken and a can of mandarin oranges in light syrup) it tasted great! The chicken actually absorbed the orange flavor from the reduction/glaze and the warm chicken with the cool oranges tossed together on a bed if spinach was a great combination.  All in all I don’t think I could have planned better flavors together if I had tried.  The cheese was a great taste for between the chicken and the salad.

Both the Sous Chef and I’s plate disappeared in a flash and I’m certain something like this will be made again.



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