Houdini Chicken

October 5, 2010

Okay, okay,  I know the picture above features shrimp, not chicken. That’s because the chicken I bought a few days ago and stashed in the freezer, intended for use in this recipe, mysteriously disappeared. How does a package of chicken just freaking vanish into the vapor? I looked for that sucker everywhere; you know I’m frustrated when I clean out my entire freezer, hunting for elusive fowl.

That chicken must know Seigfreid and Roy, because there’s no trace of him. Clearly it’s trickery at work–I couldn’t be losing my mind or anything, could I?  Luckily, in my quest for chicken procurement, I stumbled across a package of shrimp. Shrimp must not be cool enough to know any magicians.

I adapted this recipe slightly, because I thought it needed a little extra “something.” The original recipe appears below; the adaptations I made are in italics at the bottom.  Even with the adaptations, this recipe is quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal when you’re craving a little Asian flair.  Snag some chicken (keep an eye on it, though!) and your favorite vegetable, steam some rice and you’re good to go.

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir Fry

serves 6

from Bon Appetit magazine

1 1/2 cups jasmine or long-grain rice

3/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced

Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper

1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 8-ounce package stringless sugar snap peas (or any vegetable, really)

Cook rice according to package directions; keep warm.

Whisk juice, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Mix in orange peel.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat. Add crushed red pepper and onion; stir fry about 30 seconds. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet; cook until chicken is just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add snap peas and orange juice mixture. Stir until sauce comes to a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice.

Adaptations: Obviously, I didn’t use chicken. To the oil, I added a clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon of peeled, grated fresh ginger. I reduced the orange zest to 1 teaspoon…if you use 2 teaspoons, it is very orangey. To the orange juice mixture, I also added 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds over the whole deal. If your chicken escapes and you need to use shrimp,  only cook them about a minute or two before adding the orange juice mixture.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth October 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I’m like that with clothes–t-shirts just vanish from the premises for a while, nowhere to be seen. Especially when I want to wear them.

WTF is with food vanishing in the coldbox?? I swear I can never find the Parmigiano-Reggaino when I want it and end up finding about fifty near-rinds that are only good for soup after the fact.

If it makes you feel any better, we still have a chicken that we bought during our first weekend here in NY still languishing in our freezer. M says it’s to be made into stock…but I’m not sure about that. Methinks it’s time to cut the losses.


Cheryl @ Mommypants October 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Clearly the chicken is with the missing socks!


camilla October 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Ummmm, yum! I think the chicken went missing so you could tantalise us with your prawns/shrimp. Can you come over and make dinner, I’m to tired and want something yummy….promise I won’t hide the chicken :)


Bryan October 6, 2010 at 3:06 am

The chicken just figured out what happens fowl in your house and took off… I like the “wily chicken” tag by the way. I lost some pork chops a couple of weeks ago I pulled out the store receipt, “yes I bought the damn things, where are they?”

Anyway I am thinking your predicament is God’s way of telling you that the recipe is really meant for shrimp.


Tiffany October 6, 2010 at 5:26 am

So it’s not just me that this “disappearing food” thing happens to? Nice to know. I lost some blueberries a few weeks back. I think the teenager bagging my groceries snagged them.


Phoo-d October 6, 2010 at 5:44 am

Have you looked in the dryer? =) My freezer is so full it is all too easy for things to simply disappear in the chaos. Shrimp looks like a delicious substitution though!


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon October 6, 2010 at 5:54 am

Kitch, I hate it when my poultry decides to run off like that. Glad that the shrimp weren’t clever enough to disappear as well. I may have to try this with both chicken and shrimp.


The Curious Cat October 6, 2010 at 6:21 am

I hate it when things go missing – but from a freezer? Bizarre…this looks DELICIOUS! Another one for the bookmarking – you’re on fire at the moment with exciting meals that particularly appeal to my taste buds. Here in the US now too and seeking out white balsamic vinegar for your nectarine recipe! xxx


Barbara October 6, 2010 at 7:33 am

Hate to break it to you TKW, but that chicken went the way of lots of things as you get older. Just like losing car keys, glasses, grocery lists…let me think, what else have I lost this week?
Doesn’t matter though, you found a super substitute and reinvented the recipe. It sure looks good to me!


Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts October 6, 2010 at 7:43 am

Ooh, perfect! I have a bunch of P&D shrimp in my freezer waiting for some inventive preparation. Will be sure to give this one a try!


Jennifer October 6, 2010 at 8:00 am

This looks really delicious. I think I might actually have to try it out.


Lyndsey October 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

Maybe you put it there in your mind!!! Things become such habits you know? Ha! We it show what a good versatile cook you are!


Jenn M October 6, 2010 at 8:28 am

I LOVE orange chicken, and I’ve yet to find a favorite recipe for it. I’m going to go put some shackles on my chicken right now before it runs away and I can’t make this…I don’t eat shrimp so I’d just be outta luck if my chicken got away! :p


Jenn M October 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

Also, I really hope you don’t find your chicken someplace random and not cold. Because that’s something I’d do…find it in the pantry or still in the trunk of my car. Let’s hope you just already used it and forgot about it!!


Michelle October 6, 2010 at 8:44 am

Ha, too funny. Maybe the chicken has gone to that mysterious place missing socks go?


leslie October 6, 2010 at 9:45 am

hey..think of it this way..at least you got to clean out your freezer!!!!


Jenna October 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

You have to stop posting amazing recipes! My backlog of recipes I need to make from your site is at its limit . . . =)


Contemporary Troubadour October 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hmm, did your chicken turn into a salmon fillet and magically teleport into MY freezer? Because I could have sworn that we’d used all the salmon from two weeks ago, but lo and behold, one remaining fillet appeared this week.

Bizarre …


Aging Mommy October 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I like stir fry and my daughter likes orange chicken so I will try your variation – I always like garlic and fresh ginger in my stir fry so would have definitely added those in. Dead frozen chickens cannot fly away, he is there somewhere or else you have a freezer thief in your neighborhood :-)


becca October 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

If you find that chicken see if it’s hanging out with my car keys that have now been missing for a month. Ahhh.. maybe the chicken DROVE off somewhere, never to be found. Sneaky f*cker.

This sounds AMAZING. I’m torn between trying the shrimp and seeing if my kids like shrimp or sticking the surefire chicken… either way, it will be on my table tomorrow night! Thank you for saving me from digging through old recipes!

Miss you… sorry I haven’t been ’round in a while! xx


Christine October 7, 2010 at 6:06 am

Okay busting a gut over this Becca. Thank you.


Maria October 6, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Really? You lost chicken? Maybe Awesome Stepkid needed a snack? Maybe, it never got packed with the groceries?

Anyways, shrimp is ALWAYS better than chicken. Especially when it is Asian anything!!


Justine October 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I think your chicken is where My Guy’s car keys are. Dorkus Maximus misplaced his so he couldn’t take our kid to daycare but couldn’t stay home due to meetings at work so I had to haul my ass all the way back home an hour after I got into the office to rescue his Maximus. Had I foreseen that, I wouldn’t have showered and dressed for work! Not to mention the bloody commute. Sorry, what were we talking about? Shrimp?


Heather October 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Just last week a package of butterfly pork chops up and disappeared from my deep freeze. Perhaps there’s a “white meat only” party going on somewhere!


Futureblackmail October 7, 2010 at 5:11 am

I wish I was brave enough to change recipes.

BTW – My husband loved that Half-Assed Salad. Who knew? I COULD cook Barley!


Lanita October 7, 2010 at 5:49 am

This looks really good. And easy…I am always looking for easy.

By the way, when something goes missing in my house, I always check my daughter’s closet (don’t ask), or I blame it on the ghosts. I think I have ghosts in my house that derive pleasure from hiding things and driving me crazy


SuziCate October 7, 2010 at 5:53 am

Ha, when I read the title and looked at the pic, I thought Iwas losing my mind! I hate it when the poultry disappears! Is David Copperfield doing a show in your area by any chance?!


Christine October 7, 2010 at 6:07 am

These days I wouldn’t be able to see the chicken if it were staring me in the face. I kid you not.


Pam October 7, 2010 at 6:40 am

Clearly, the shrimp were hungry and ate the chicken! Your dish sounds delicious and would be great with either chicken or shrimp!


FatFighterTV October 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

So… what happened to that chicken? I’m dying to know… :)


Katybeth October 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Your husband took the chicken to torture you and you already know he won’t admit it…so you will have to set up a video camera…and wait…
This looks very good–My 14 year old subscribes to Bon Appetit. I love the kids optimism and the fact that he has finally stopped answering my call to dinner with REAllY?
Our success with Bon Appetit has not been great but you make this look possible…so we will give it a try.


Stacia October 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Every time I cook with cornstarch it’s a disaster. Culinary FAIL. Any idea what I’m doing wrong, oh, wise and chicken-less Kitch??


TKW October 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Katybeth, I think it’s so amazing that your 14 year old is a budding gourmet. Try the weeknight simple recipes in Bon Appetit–those tend to be fairly family-friendly and don’t require a kabazillion ingredients.

Stacia, I think the key is really whisking the cornstarch into the liquid, getting rid of any clumps. And then, if you let the cornstarch and liquid mixture sit for any amount of time, you have to whisk it again before adding it into your stir-fry, because the cornstarch sinks down to the bottom of the bowl and makes a quicksand-like substance that is just ugly. Another note: a lot of recipes for stir fry, in my opinion, call for way too much cornstarch. You really only need a teaspoon or so to make things thicken up nicely–some recipes I’ve seen call for a tablespoon or two of the stuff and that is just wrong. Unless you like glutinous, gelatinous sauce.

Heather, the “white meat only” remark cracked me up!

Fat-Fighter TV and readers: the chicken conundrum continues. Sneaky bastard chicken. And yes, I did look in the dryer, which was a stroke of brilliance. But alas, no elusive fowl.


Paula October 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Missing chicken? I could understand missing cookies, ice cream or chips. I just blame my husband and I’m usually right. But who would I blame if chicken went missing? It’s a sure thing he isn’t going to be cooking anything like that so couldn’t point the finger at him. You did the best thing. Just change your plans. Love your title.


rebecca @ altared spaces October 8, 2010 at 7:57 am

I love anything Asian and I happen to have shrimp in my freezer.

For Stacia and cornstarch: I have her same problem and I have run mine through a strainer before adding it to the broth. Do you ever do this? Because I can’t, try as I may, get out the lumps. I’m just a bumpy person by nature I guess.


becca October 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Just made this and it was a HUGE hit! Even with picky Hannah! I added some waterchestnuts and a tablespoon of honey to sweeten it a bit for my sweet toothed sweetie and YUMMMMY!
Thank you!


jc October 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I once mailed a chick filet to a roommate. frozen. The campus post office was not amused. The whole mailbox section stunk in about 24 hours. You should be able to sniff out your chicken’s hiding spot.


Kelly October 8, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I’m guessing you grabbed a bag of shrimp instead of the chicken you thought you had. Recipe sounds delish!


M @ Betty Crapper October 9, 2010 at 7:33 am

You probably used up that chicken and forgot about it. I’ve done it a zillion times. This recipe looks like something I would really love and it’s fast. I’m saving it :).


Jamie October 10, 2010 at 2:53 am

If I have learned anything in all these years of living in a house full of men: when anything mysteriously disappears believe me a man is involved! And I LOVE this recipe, love the flavors. I’ll try it with chicken although I would much prefer it with shrimp (love shrimp) but I love in a city where fresh raw shrimp do not exist. Ooh many scallops? Oooh now I want this!


jonn3 May 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

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