Why an orange in all the things? Since I was young, one sip of orange juice would upset my stomach. I loved the taste, but I have never been able to enjoy an orange and for years I never bothered going anywhere near one. That is, until I began cooking and baking with them. It turns out, I love oranges better when paired with salty, savory flavors. Hard cheeses. As a marinade for chicken or pork. Marmalade. But marmalade-as-BBQ sauce WHAT!? I’ll get to that later.
I am definitely in love with oranges when fresh thyme, rosemary, and cumin are present. Any fresh herb, really. I once had mussels in a Harlem restaurant with Connie and I kept asking myself, what is this amazingness I am tasting? Orange zest in a spicy broth. Mind blown.
Let’s just say I went a little orange-crazy for Jen’s birthday dinner. Even one of her gifts from me–a latin seasoning packet–had bitter orange peels in it.
The night before, I sleepily baked an Orange Bundt Cake, using cara cara oranges. I did not follow any of the instructions for the wet ingredients because a part of me did not agree with them. It only called for oil? No butter? I threw 2 sticks of room-temp butter in there, no oil, and hoped for the best. And you know what? It was perfectly orange. Soft and moist. I made an icing out of a couple of squeezes of fresh orange juice and its zest, vanilla extract. Served it with fig and orange jam for breakfast after I gently toasted a slice. I’m calling this a Birthday Bundt for Breakfast. I made it again for Tory, using cake flour and way more zest. I drizzled white and chocolate icing over it. It came out even better, I think.
In the morning, it was time to stew the beans. Remember the recipe for my stewed beans I shared with you some time ago? I have been throwing a few orange peels into the pot ever since I did so in Florida. For Jen’s birthday feast, I even threw in a half of rotisserie chicken which fell apart in the pot and gave it an extra salty something. I’ve done this once before, about two years ago. Not sure why it’s taken me two years to do it again. I remember Dan and I thinking it was a fantastic idea. Perfect for when you have leftover chicken and not sure what to do with it.
Stewed Beans & Chicken with Orange Peels
- drizzle of olive oil
- couple of thyme sprigs
- tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- few medium-sized orange peels
- 2 16 oz cans cannellini beans
- 1 16 oz tomato sauce
- 16 oz water
- half (leftover) chicken, dark meat, bone-in
- salt n pepper, to taste
DirectionsHeat olive oil in dutch oven or pot and add thyme, cumin seeds, onion, and jalapeños. Saute for a few minutes. Add everything else and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Take out chicken (which is probably super tender by now), shred, and put back into the pot. Serve with basmati rice.
Note: I used canned beans for this recipe because I didn’t have dried on hand, but by all means, if you have them, use them instead. Soak over night.
I’ve made this recipe using small red beans, and pinto beans. They work very well, I just really love cannellini! Want to use other herbs? Cilantro was the only green my mom used for these beans for years. If you have them, definitely use them. Sometimes I find myself adding dried oregano as well. As for an added richness, sub some water for chicken stock.
If you’re looking for meatless stewed beans, which is what I usually make, I add potatoes and carrots, even olives, or nothing at all! Sometimes, I just want BEANS.
Here is the original stewed beans recipe.
As a fresh side made with my farmers market haul, this salad was served: mixed greens with baby arugula, purple cabbage, roasted beets, cara cara oranges (yes, the peels went into the beans), and rupert cheese from Scarbourough Fare farms.
Expect way more orange-inspired dishes on this blog! I believe blood orange and meyer lemon marmalade is next–but smothered all over spicy ribs and used in replacement of BBQ sauce. NBD.