A perfect pressure cooker entrée

We’ve been discussing meal prep and food convenience all month for National Nutrition Month. Now it’s time to put these concepts into practice with this delicious, lighter take on a Chinese takeout staple. Get your pressure cooker ready … it’s time to start cooking!

Pressure Cooker Orange Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast or thighs cut into 1-2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup orange juice no sugar added
1 tablespoon ginger grated
6 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry white wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄4 cup lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
Zest from 1 orange

Cornstarch Slurry
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons orange juice

4 green onions sliced
Extra orange zest

1. It is important for the chicken not to have any extra moisture. Dry it with a few paper towels and cut into 1-2-inch chunks.

2. Heat up your pressure cooker*: press Sauté -> click on the Adjust button -> select More to get the Sauté More function, which means that the food will be sautéed over medium-high heat. Wait for the pressure cooker indicator to read HOT.

3. Add the oil to the hot pot. Add the chicken and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. When sautéing, stir constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

4. If any chicken bits stick to the bottom, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup orange juice and scrape them with a wooden spoon. If you leave the bits stuck to the bottom, they may burn or cause the pot not to come to pressure.

5. Add the Sauce ingredients to the pot: remaining 3/4 cups of orange juice, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, rice wine, orange zest and Sriracha sauce. You can skip the Sriracha sauce or add more if you prefer your food on the spicier side.

6. Add the tomato sauce if you are using it. The tomato sauce adds a tanginess to the overall sweet recipe, and it makes it taste more savory. It is based on your own preference. You can also use less, or completely leave it out if you want a pure orange aroma.

7. Stir gently until all the ingredients are combined and coated in sauce.

8. Close lid, select Manual, and select 5 minutes on High Pressure. Make sure the vent is closed.

9. Use a 10-minute Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure by opening the vent. Open the lid.

10. Select the Sauté function, on LOW. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with the orange juice. Whisk until all combined with no lumps.

11. Add the mixture to the pressure cooker and gently stir to combine. Cook on Sauté function for a few more minutes, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

If you want the sauce even thicker, mix one more tablespoon of cornstarch with orange juice and add it to the pot.

12. Let the Orange Chicken stand for 5-7 minutes, the sauce will thicken more. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and extra orange zest.

*Pressure cooker functionality varies by make and model. Be sure to consult the user’s manual for your appliance.

Adapted from a recipe by Catalina Castravet

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