South African Orange Chicken

“This is delicious and tangy! And it improves in taste if made ahead, refrigerated, and heated up again! It's not wholly South African, as the idea comes from France, and then there's the soy sauce, LOL! Do use sweet, ripe oranges in season, and please do taste your sauce. Cooks need to adjust such sauces to taste, as one cannot be absolutely precise when giving quantities. The quantities given here worked perfectly for me, but it all depends on many variables. Serve with opposite tastes like simple veggies and brown rice. Prep times INCLUDE reducing the sauce.”
1hr 25mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 lbs chicken pieces
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (grated or julienned (try to avoid the white pith)
  • 13 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons mustard, prepared table mustard (preferably wholegrain mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, fresh, chopped (or 1/2 Tbsp dried)
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)


  1. Set oven at 350 deg F/180 deg Celsius.
  2. In a small pot, mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the chicken pieces. Use a whisk to mix everything well.
  3. Simmer this sauce, stirring now and then, until the sauce has reduced by one quarter or more. This reduction process will thicken it slightly and intensify the flavours.
  4. Watch it, as it can boil over if heat is too high. You want a brisk bubbly simmer. As the liquid evaporates, the sauce will thicken just a little. Donlt worry if some "scum" forms. It's just foam, and will disappear as the sauce boils.
  5. Add the brandy after you've removed the sauce from the heat. (The alcohol will evaporate in the baking process, but it gives additional flavour, and boy, you can taste that extra flavour, especially if you use a good brandy/cognac/Armagnac).
  6. Taste a little of the sauce with a teaspoon, being very careful not to burn your tongue! If too acid, stir in more honey, or a little sugar. You want a tangy taste.
  7. Pack the chicken pieces, skin side up, in a large oven dish, preferably in one layer, and pour over the thickened orange sauce. Put in preheated oven, open.
  8. Bake about 3/4 hour. You will need to check after 15 mins., and lay a piece of foil loosely over the chicken, to prevent burning.
  9. Baste with the sauce a few times during baking. Take off the foil to let the chicken brown.
  10. Note: if you use fewer chicken pieces, as I often do, you'll probably have sauce left over. Save for another purpose, or add it to the chicken when baking is nearly done.
  11. To serve to guests, put in heated serving dish, and decorate with thin strips of orange zest and a scatter of very finely chopped parsley. Goes well with fluffy rice or roast potatoes, young green beans (steamed) and a large salad. Serve with an off-dry wine such as a good blanc de noir, chenin blanc or a dry rosé.

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