Bright and citrus-y Ginger-Orange Chicken is prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature alongside Spicy Couscous, making it perfect fare for picnics and potlucks!
Ginger Orange Chicken with Spicy Couscous is one of my favorites for entertaining, especially in the summer, as it can be made entirely ahead of time and served at room temperature.
It’s sort of a backward dish, in that the chicken is cooked before its marinated in the sauce. And, speaking of the sauce, it’s divine – orange and lemon juices, chutney, ginger, rice vinegar, dark sesame oil and a bit of red pepper flakes for spice.
The chicken is served over spicy (savory, not hot spicy) couscous that’s colorful and a little sweet – seasoned with dried apricots, cinnamon, pistachios, green onions and basil. The flavors all blend together amazingly well!
Note that the chicken needs to marinate overnight, so you’ll need to prep a day in advance.
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Ginger Orange Chicken
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons mango chutney – see Note
- 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger (see my tips on purchasing and storing ginger)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 6 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 5 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves with skin on (number depends on size)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 box (10 ounce) couscous
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped (or 1 cup if in the shell)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ginger Orange Chicken
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a 13-by-9-by-2 inch glass baking dish, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, chutney, ginger, orange peel, vinegar, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
- If chicken breasts are very thick at one end, pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness. If they are very large, butterfly and cut into 2 pieces (see Tip). Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Place sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Dredge skin side of chicken in seeds, coating well.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken breasts (or as many as will comfortably fit into your skillet), skin side down, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown (watch carefully so sesame seeds don’t burn). Turn over and cook 2 minutes longer.
- Place chicken breasts, skin side up, in orange juice mixture in baking dish.
- Thoroughly clean out skillet (otherwise the second batch will burn) and repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and chicken breasts.
- Cover chicken with foil and bake 20 minutes or until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165 degrees. Remove from oven, remove foil and let chicken cool for around 1 hour in marinade at room temperature.
- Leave chicken in marinade, cover and chill overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Combine couscous, apricots, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl.
- In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups water, olive oil, and salt to a boil; remove from heat and stir in couscous mixture. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until water is absorbed.
- When ready to serve, uncover, and fluff couscous with fork.
- Stir in chopped nuts, green onions, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve at room temperature (best if not made too far ahead.)
To serve, mound the spicy couscous on a serving platter, or divide between dinner plates. Top with chicken breasts. Spoon the sauce from the baking dish over the top of chicken.
Note on mango chutney: A widely available mango chutney is the brand “Major Grey’s Chutney”.