Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Chicken and Rapini Skillet with Mandarin Orange Sauce

Rapini, or broccoli rabe (“rob”), is an earthy, slightly pungent leafy green vegetable similar to turnip greens, and especially popular in Italian cuisine. Its small buds resemble tiny heads of broccoli—therefore, its alternate name.

Broccoli-like buds
Rapini is mostly about the leaves, but all parts are edible except for the thickest parts of the stems. For this recipe, I coarsely chopped the trimmed stems, leaves, and buds for quicker cooking. And like other leafy greens, rapini cooks quickly and shrinks considerably. Don’t be shy with quantity.

To complement the earthy flavor of the vegetable, I added a little fruitiness with mandarin oranges and the juice they were canned in. If you can’t find mandarins packed in their own juice, use those canned in light syrup, which may make the sauce a bit sweeter.

Serves 4

  • 1 11-oz can mandarin oranges in mandarin orange juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp chile garlic sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (or a mixture), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5-6 packed cups coarsely chopped rapini leaves, buds, and small stems (1 large bunch)
  • 2 cups cooked white basmati rice, warm
Chopped Rapini
  1. Strain the oranges, reserving the juice in a medium bowl. Set the oranges aside.
  2. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and chile sauce to the juice, whisking well to combine. Set aside.
Strained Mandarin Oranges 
Orange Slices and Juice Mixture
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry until golden brown and just cooked through, 9-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Do not wipe out the skillet.
Chicken Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Chicken
  1. Re-heat the skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry 1 minute.
  2. Add the rapini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rapini begins to wilt and absorbs some of the oil, 2 minutes.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan and stir in the rice. Add the reserved juice mixture and cook until some of the liquid is absorbed, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the reserved mandarin oranges.
Garlic and Ginger
Rapini Beginning to Cook 
Wilted Rapini
Divide the skillet mixture among 4 plates and serve right away.

Chicken and Rapini Skillet with Mandarin Orange Sauce

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