Friday, January 22, 2010

6. Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

From 1997 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I'm a fan of Chinese food, particularly egg rolls and hot-and-sour soup. I love the flavor of those deep-fried dishes, like sweet-and-sour chicken, but I'm usually wary of ordering them, since so many restaurants over-batter the chicken to the point of wondering if there's really any meat in there.

So, the idea of "takeout" flavor with un-fried chicken appealed to me. And, I'm sure there's a way to make good sweet-and-sour chicken in your own kitchen...but I'm not sure this recipe is it. To be clear, I wasn't expecting a duplication, but I did expect a little more flavor than what this delivered.

The sauce was pretty good, but it was too thin. The vegetables were nice and crisp, but it was the chicken that killed this dish for me. It tasted like bland boiled chicken...which is pretty much what it was.

I don't know if I should have cut the chicken into small chunks instead of strips so that more sauce could have covered each piece...or if I should have breaded and baked the chicken strips and then tossed them with the sauce.

What's the key to getting closer to restaurant quality with this dish without frying? Or, is this one of those dishes that's just better to order out?

(Note: I'm listing the recipe as it appeared in the book, but I made a few adjustments. I used fresh, crinkle-cut carrots in place of canned ones, and I used broccoli florets instead of bell pepper.)

1 can condensed tomato soup
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks, undrained
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced carrots, drained
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips

Cook first five ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat until thoroughly heated.

Add chicken, carrots and peppers. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve over rice.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Sometimes, no matter what I do, I can never replicate what I've had at a restaurant. I guess that's why there are so many of them!