When held against your cheek, my new grandson’s head feels like velvet. Holding Parker is pure, perfect joy, an experience both simple and complex, serene and hold-your-breath exhilarating.
In this singular, quiet act of being fully present with him all of the senses come together. The scent of lotion, hearing his coo, seeing his bright eyes that remind me so much of his mother as a baby, and touching his little velvet head. Oh how I adore that little velvet head.
Simple, singular, yet incredibly complex because of the myriad of emotions that are triggered in the experience of holding him. Joy, laughter, reflection and yes, sadness, at the very thought of leaving this precious angel when the visit is over. Incredible awe at seeing his tiny hand wrapped tightly around my finger, hearing his heart beat and just breathing in the reality that this amazing creature exists. My daughter’s child. My baby’s baby. Tears of pure joy.
So what does this have to do with a Boozy Chef’s recipe for French Orange Chicken with Contreau?
Inspired by the “baby Parker” experience, I created a dish that is simple yet complex. A harmony of flavors that play on the palate, while one note rings with a purity above the others. Elegant comfort food with Contreau orange liqueur at the heart, married with notes of shallots, rosemary, thyme, garlic, white balsamic vinegar and smoky grilled orange.
When I first tasted Contreau I was struck by how perfectly orange it was without being “too orange.” It’s not the thick sweet of orange juice from a bottle – it’s subtle yet vibrant. Bright flavors with a softness on the palate that are so perfectly balanced you can drink it straight, no mixers required. Bold, bright, silky, understated. That is Contreau.
So I was inspired and began playing with this spirit in the kitchen. My first attempt was a play on Asian Orange Chicken, bringing in the flavors of soy and ginger. It was okay but not great.
It was this French version that came through a solid winner. A dish with complexity of flavor hidden in elegant simplicity.
The process is important with this recipe. If the Contreau is added too soon it becomes overly sweet with reduction; however, adding at the end brings out the beauty of this spirit. It’s also a great choice for low calorie, low fat, healthy eating with only 110 calories per serving, 4g of fat and 5g of protein. It’s freezer friendly, gluten-free and works as a Paleo dish with just a few modifications (included with the recipe).
So here is the recipe and instructions, along with a printable version. Enjoy and I look forward to reading your comments.
Cheers! from The Boozy Chef and don’t forget to comment. We love to hear from you!