I made this for dinner tonight because I was hungry and craving both sweet and spicy; it came out surprisingly good, rather like lemon-ginger chicken. I don't have an exact recipe, because it was one of those throw-everything-on-the-shelf-into-a-pan meals, but if I can approximate, so can you.

What you will need:

  • Chicken - I used boneless breast, but you can use any cut you like. This might go well with thighs.
  • Yellow onion, roughly chopped (1 onion should serve 2)
  • Garlic, roughly chopped (3-5 cloves)
  • Veggies - I used frozen peas & carrots because they were handy, but you can (of course) throw in whatever you like.
  • Tequila-lime marinade* (about 3T)
  • Orange juice (enough to almost cover the chicken)
  • Water (1/2 cup per serving)
  • Cayenne pepper (as much as you can handle)
  • Ginger, ground or fresh
  • Nutmeg, ground (just a wee bit)
  • Salt
  • A little oil, just for lubrication
*I used bottled stuff (because it was handy), but not very much of it. If I were to make this again, I would probably use vinegar, sugar, lime juice, oregano, and garlic salt instead.

First things first: if you're going to eat this with rice, put it on now. This is a quick dinner, and we'll call it done when the rice is done.

Chop up the onion and garlic how you like them. I like big chunks, but if you'd prefer them minced or diced, go for it. Put a little oil into a medium frying pan (or a large one if you're cooking for more than 2), add the onion and garlic and crank up the heat. Let them get good and brown. Throw some of the marinade (or your vinegar mixture) in there and let it get all brown and crusty. Mmm.

While this is going, decide whether you want big pieces of chicken or little ones, and trim and cut it up appropriately. Throw it in there with the now-browned onions and garlic. Stir it around a bit, add the rest of your marinade. Next, cover the bastard with orange juice. This is going to get sticky and gloppy pretty fast, so let's add some water now. Not too much; try 1/2 cup per 2 servings.

Keep stirring that brownish-orange glop while you bring it to a boil. Next is the bit where you get to act like you know what you're doing in the kitchen even though you're single and never cooked for your ex because she was a vegetarian. Break out the cayenne pepper and toss some in there. Don't be shy. Just when you think you've added too much, add a little more. This is so sweet that you'll need the extra spiciness to balance it out. Throw in some ground (or finely chopped) ginger. Let your nose be the guide here. When it starts smelling yummy, toss in a little more, and you're done. Sprinkle a small handful of salt in there while you're at it. If you're feeling adventurous (or it just doesn't smell right yet), put in about 1t of ground nutmeg. I promise: this will not ruin your meal. Also toss in your veggies now.

Stir well, reduce heat, and cover. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is done, stirring occasionally. While you're stirring, give it a sniff. If it's too sweet, add some more ginger. If it's too ginger-y, add a little more cayenne (or water, if you've got a weak stomach). If it's too watery, take off the cover and crank up the heat until it's had a chance to reduce a little.

Probably the most important part of this meal is the spiciness: it must be spicy. The OJ is so sweet that it would just be citrus goop without enough cayenne pepper (or other spicy-inducing substance). Experiment with it, though; it's all about smell. If it doesn't smell quite right, add something. Does it need basil? Add some. More garlic? Add it. Whiskey? Go for it. Don't be afraid of the kitchen!

Serve this with rice (or some really soft yukon gold potatoes, mmm). It would probably also go well with a fruity ale (which should be bold enough to complement the spiciness of the meal). I don't do wine, though, so I wouldn't know about that. Enjoy!

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