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Take-Out Challenged: Local Sweet and Sour Chicken

Here’s another simple layer and bake dinner option, using some great early fall local food. The focus of this dish is the amazing pastured chicken from Link’d Hearts Ranch. Which turned into some delicious sweet and sour chicken with three simple steps:

The first, was to chop onions, garlic, red peppers and carrots, all from local sources like Tonnemaker Farms, and our last Omache Farm CSA share, and toss them into a 9×9 baking dish. *you can add or substitute other veggies, as you like

Next, a (not-local) can of crushed or chunked pineapple, juice and all gets dumped into the pan

Then, right on top of all that, goes half of a chicken

(Here’s a youtbue video that shows the process we use, we stop about halfway through the process show, and cut in half. It makes it way easier to store our frozen chicken in our tiny apartment freezer and is a good serving size for two people, and easier to work with.)

If you have sweet and sour sauce, or a favorite recipe for it, you can put some on now, if not – don’t worry about it, you can make some at the end. Pop all of this in the oven at 350, for about 45 minutes, until the thickest part of the chicken is not pink. While the chicken and vegetables are baking, you can cook up some rice, I love using our rice cooker because it is really an add water and forget about it system.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, you can take about 1 cup of the juice with 2 Tbs of cornstarch (or equivalent) and heat gently in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Add more liquid if you want a thinner sauce, and more cornstarch for a thicker sauce, but be careful when adding the cornstarch that you mix it well and don’t let it clump. You can also add a tsp of apple cider vinegar and a 1tsp of sugar to enhance the sweet and sour flavor.

Now, dish the chicken and vegetables up, on top of the rice, add your extra sweet and sour sauce, if desired – and you’ve got a rival to your favorite take-out sweet and sour chicken

(You could probably make it General Tso-ish, with some hot pepper flakes and orange zest, cashews and/or sesame seeds also make great additions to any version of this dish.)

Do you have a favorite make-at-home dish that rivals take-out? Did you try this and love it, or hate it? Do you know a great source for local pineapple? 😉 Please let us know in the comments!

Always with gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for helping to clean up the messes I make!

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