For nearly two years, a small group of my friends and I have gotten together once a month to have a supper club. Not only is supper club an opportunity for us to try out new healthy recipes and share some fabulous wine, but it is a safe space for us to share our concerns, struggles, triumphs, etc. While we frequently have supper club cards that ask us to share answers to some introspective questions, we did not use them for this particular supper club (since two of our six members were not able to make it). More on the supper club cards at a later time.
Tonight’s menu was as follows:
Main Course: Orange Chicken
Side Dish: Orange Couscous and Cooked Carrots
Dessert: Dark Chocolate and Berries
Wine Pairing: Cruzeiro Branco Vinho Verde
I elected to make my Orange Chicken and Couscous for the main course for supper club. Not only is this a healthy recipe, it is super easy and quick to make. Below are my recipes for Orange Chicken and Orange Couscous. Beyond the recipes you will find a quick tasting profile of the wine pairing for the evening.
Servings: 5 -6 Prep Time: 5 min (plus 30 min. for marinade) Cook Time: 18-25 minutes
- 5 – 6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast halves
- 1/4 C. Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
- 1.75 C. Water
- 4 tsp. Minced Garlic
- 2 tsp. Ground (or freshly grated) Ginger
- Salt & Pepper to taste (I like the Garlic Salt Grinder from Trader Joe’s). I use about 1 tsp. of salt and 2 tsp. of black ground pepper
- 2-4 tsp. of Sriracha to taste
- 2-3 Navel Oranges
- Clean chicken breast halves and place them in a gallon-sized ziploc bag.
- Combine water and OJ concentrate to make 2 cups of liquid. Add to ziploc bag.
- Add garlic, ginger, sriracha, salt and pepper to ziploc bag.
- Grate zest of one orange in ziploc bag. If you aren’t already loyal to a zester, get a microplane zester (see pic below); It’s awesome! Add the juice of that orange to the bag as well.
- Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Take chicken out of fridge and let sit for 30 minutes before putting in the oven. If you are marinating for only 30 minutes, there is no need to place it in the fridge. NOTE: Room temperature chicken with retain more moisture in the oven so that you don’t dry out your chicken. Cold chicken directly into the oven = DRY chicken.
- Place chicken and about one cup of marinade liquid in a glass, oven-safe baking pan. Don’t crowd the chicken in the pan, it will take longer to cook. Top with orange slices (about 1-2 slices so that chicken is covered). Cover baking dish with foil.
- Bake for 18 – 25 minutes or until chicken juices are running clear. Alternatively, bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- Let the chicken rest, covered with foil, for 5 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should come up to 165 degrees before consuming.
- Serve with Orange Couscous (recipe below), 1-2 fresh orange slices and the vegetable of your choice.
Servings: 4, 1/2 C. Servings Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 1 C. Uncooked Couscous (I like to use tricolor couscous)
- 2/3 C. Low Sodium Chicken Stock
- 1/2 C. Orange Juice (this is where the OJ Concentrate comes in handy)
- 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger (or fresh grated ginger)
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- 2 Oranges (Zest and Orange Slices)
- In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock, orange juice, garlic, ginger, salt, red pepper flakes and zest of two oranges to a boil.
- Add the couscous, stirring quickly.
- Remove from heat, add orange slices to cover top of couscous and cover.
- Let stand 4-5 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
And now for the wine…Cruzeiro Branco Vinho Verde. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Vinho Verde, it isn’t actually a grape varietal, but rather a region of Portugal. Vinho Verde means “green wine,” but really means young wine. In other words, this wine is meant to be consumed within a year of being bottled. I am a big fan of Vinho Verde in general. It’s a great mid-week wine that is very food friendly and is slightly effervescent. Vinho Verde is made from many varieties of Portuguese wines. This Cruzeiro Branco consists of the Loureiro, Arinto and Trajadura wine varietals and costs about $10 (a typical price for a Vinho Verde).
This is the first Vinho Verde I have had that I was not a real fan of. The overwhelming flavor profile of this for me was just a harsh grassiness that resulted in a biting sensation and ultimately very little of the wine being consumed (by me). That being said, the wine seemed to be enjoyed by others at the dinner, so perhaps, at $10 a bottle, it is worth a try for yourself?