Yum, But not Yum-0: Orange-Cashew Chicken with Broccoli

Yum, But not Yum-0: Orange-Cashew Chicken with BroccoliMy husband is shocked (shocked, I say!) that I didn't rate this recipe for Orange-Cashew Chicken with Broccoli in the It's a Keeper category. This is the second time I have made it, and there is just some flavor in it I don't love. And the vegetables ended up overcooked both times. Now, the odds are that is my fault and not Rachael Ray's, but still, I gotta be honest. I decided to give this recipe a second chance, since it's number eight on Rachael's list of top 10 recipes from the first season of her talk show.

Don't get me wrong - it's still a good recipe and I would probably make it again. But I just didn't love it. I served it with brown rice, which rounded out a pretty healthy menu, since the dish is full of veggies. I'd rate this as good, but not great. You can also find the recipe in 2, 4, 6, 8.

Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

8 servings

5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
7 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), cut into large bite-size pieces
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 16-ounce bag of broccoli florets
1 rounded teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon (half a palmful) ground coriander
2 oranges, zest and juice
1/2 cup tamari (eyeball it)
3 tablespoons honey (eyeball it)
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1, 2 or 3 cups -- as many cups of roasted, unsalted cashews as you like
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, 2 generous handfuls [I love cashews, so I use at least a cup and I only make half this recipe.]

Preheat a large, deep skillet over high heat with 3 turns of the pan of vegetable oil, about 3 tablespoons. Season the chicken with some salt and pepper and brown the meat; brown it in 2 batches if necessary. Once the meat has browned, remove to a plate and reserve. Return the skillet to the heat, add 2 turns of the pan of vegetable oil, the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, broccoli, crushed red pepper flakes and coriander. [Maybe it's the coriander I don't like? I'll try omitting that next time.]

Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes or until the veggies start to get tender. Add the orange zest and juice, soy sauce and honey. Stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer, add the browned chicken back to the pot and cook another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl along with a little splash of water and stir, once combined add to the pot to thicken up the sauce a bit. Add the cashews – as many as you want! [I like my cashews on top of the dish instead of mixed into the sauce. Don't ask me why. I have no idea.] Serve the cashew chicken over ginger noodles or rice and garnish with some of the chopped cilantro. [I just went with a brown rice pilaf sorta thing since I was too lazy to make the noodles and didn't want any more heat in the house.]

Here are a few extra pictures of the recipe:

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