Tequila-Orange Chicken with Ancho Chile Sauce (and Orange-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls)

Wheat flour
Creme fraiche

When I read the ingredients for Paper Chef, I immediately thought cinnamon rolls. Probably this is because I have been craving cinnamon rolls for at least a week. I keep asking P. to make some for me and he keeps saying no and laughing. He’s actually being nice to me (well, the saying no part, not really the laughing part), because I did ask him to help me stick to eating healthfully and cinnamon rolls aren’t exactly the healthiest food in the world.

So, when I told him that I was making cinnamon rolls, but that it was for art, for science, for truth and honor, he laughed at me again and said I was making up this whole thing and its ingredient list just as an excuse. And when I showed him the Tomatilla Web page with the ingredients clearly listed, he accused me of making the whole site while he was in the shower as an elaborate ruse. I am so offended at his lack of trust in me.

I would only go to such great lengths for cheesecake.

Then I got to thinking about how I’ve been wanting to make tortillas, and wondered if I could figure out some enchilada-style thing with the ingredients as well. Which is how it came to be that we had tequila-orange chicken with ancho chile sauce for dinner last night, accompanied by margaritas with a hint of orange juice, and orange-glazed cinnamon rolls for dessert.

I did try to make things a little lower in fat. You might not really notice that, mostly. Well, until you get to the baby food in the ingredient list.

(In an odd coincidence, I happened to pick up a jar of creme fraiche at the grocery store last week, and hadn’t used it yet. It’s a good thing, because when we stopped by a different grocery store to get oranges yesterday, we couldn’t find creme fraiche anywhere. )

orange-infused margaritas
P. makes the best margaritas in the world, with tequila, triple sec, and lemon and lime juices. Last night, he added a bit of orange juice in a nod to the night’s theme, and it was a nice twist that added just a bit of sweetness.

tequila-orange chicken with ancho chile sauce
I loosely based this recipe on the pork-filled enchiladas with orange-red mole from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless. Very loosely. (I think the orange in the name must refer to the color, because there are no oranges to be found in the recipe.) But I like his techniques and spice combinations and and so this recipe caught my eye as it featured cinnamon. I went down a different path with it though. Bayless says to go with the shaggy-looking cinnamon sticks over the smooth ones, and I did find some loose in the produce section of the grocery store. However, once I read further, I found that he wanted me to grind the stick with a mortar and pestle, so I went with the already ground spice.

And hey, I managed to use one of the bonus ingredients, stale bread, in this one!

Marinade: I sliced the chicken into long strips and added it to a marinade of:
2/3 cup tequila
juice of 1/2 orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbl honey

I refrigerated that for about an hour.

Sauce: I combined the following in a blender (although in hindsight, a food processor would have worked a little better):

2 ancho chiles (that I had soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes)
4 garlic cloves, roasted (see note*)
1/2 stale baguette (sliced and toasted)
2 small tomatoes (quartered and broiled for about 10 minutes)
1/2 chopped onion
1 Tbl fresh oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 tsp honey
1 cup chicken broth

*Note about the garlic: I used a technique I read about in the cookbook, which is to roast unpeeled garlic over high heat in a skillet until they blackened (about 15 minutes). It worked!

Then, I poured the sauce into a saucepan, added 2 cups chicken broth, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

filling: In a skillet, I cooked:

chicken (that I took out of the marinade and cooked on the same skillet, then shredded; the marinade carmelized the outside of the chicken and gave it a nice smoky quality)
2 small red potatoes (diced and boiled)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 ancho chile (soaked with the others and chopped)
salt and pepper

Once the filling was reduced and cooked through, I added 1/4 cup of creme fraiche and mixed it through.

tortillas: These were very simple. In my mixer, I creamed together 3 Tbl low-fat butter and 2 Tbl shortening. I then added 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour and a little salt. Once that was mixed in, I slowly added all-purpose flour. I ended up adding about 1 1/2 cups to get it to the consistency I wanted. I made 11 balls of dough and let them sit for a few minutes. Then, I rolled them out (once again, using ice wine; that’s some great ice wine and I don’t even know what it tastes like yet!). P. fried them as I rolled (in a dry, hot pan, on both side, just until they started to darken).

Then, I added filling to each tortilla, rolled them up, placed them seam-side down in a glass dish, and poured the sauce over the top. I baked it for 10 minutes at 350 (just to heat everything through). I ended up using maybe 8 tortillas, so we just ate the rest with butter with dinner.

This came out great. You could definitely taste the cinnamon throughout the dish. The tortillas were light and rustic. The creme fraiche added a touch of tartness to it that balanced the sweetness of the chiles and honey.

orange-glazed cinnamon rolls
I was worried about these, since I sort of made up the recipe on the fly, and tried to make it as low-fat as I could without sacrificing taste, but they were really good.

I combined:

1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 packages yeast

I let that sit 10 minutes and combined it in my mixer with:

4 oz oatmeal cinnamon pear baby food
2 Tbl shortening
1/2 cup warm skim milk
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup egg beaters
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

I switched to my dough hook and kneaded it a bit. Then, I covered it with a towel and let it rise for about an hour. After that, I rolled it out to a long rectangle and:

  • spread low-fat butter over the top
  • spread a thin layer of honey over that
  • liberally sprinkled cinnamon over everything
  • covered all of that with brown sugar

Then, I rolled up the dough the usual way for cinnamon rolls, cut the roll into 12 or so equal parts, and put each piece into a pie plate (2 actually) and let them rise for about 30 minutes).

I baked them at 375 for 25 minutes. Once I took them out of the oven, I poured over a glaze that I made with the following:

1/3 cup creme fraiche
1 cup powdered sugar
juice for 1/2 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract

The glaze went everywhere.

The creme fraiche helped the glaze not be overly sweet. And I would never have known the dough had baby food in it if I hadn’t made it myself. I think I want one right now.

One thought on “Tequila-Orange Chicken with Ancho Chile Sauce (and Orange-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls)

  1. Alice, all three “courses” sound amazing – you really took the idea to it’s max by making a drink, a main course and a dessert with the “theme”. And can I just say that I would LOVE one of those cinnamon rolls right now; it would be perfect for breakfast!

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