Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia). Savory meets sweet in a most Italian delectable way. Moist, crispy skinned chicken is bathed in a wine and orange sauce, with hints of garlic, rosemary, and lovely bright notes from the cranberries, with sweetness coming from those lovely shallots. This is definitely a must try!
Orange chicken Italian-style?
I am sure you are asking "I thought orange chicken was an Asian dish", and your are right in that assumption. However, in Italy we do our own variation of Pollo all'arancia that is absolutely mouthwatering and mind blowing. I am so excited to share this recipe with you today, and I think you are going to love it so much that it will become a family favorite. I can honestly say the kids will love it too, if they are true foodies at heart.
Let's gather up the ingredients and get into the kitchen together and make this wonderful dish!
Ingredients for this Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia)
I just wanted to talk about ingredients for a moment. We always buy great quality as we believe that the flavor of any dish depends on the way ingredients have been prepared, and with the utmost quality. In our kitchen, organic, free-range, pesticide free, non GMO is a must. With that being said, here are the ingredients for this dish:
- Chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh rosemary
- Organic Navel oranges
- Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
- White wine
- Fresh or frozen cranberries, optional
Can you make this gluten-free?
Absolutely. For the dredging process you can use a G.F. flour or, if not, rice flour or tapioca starch work just as well. Really, if you want, you can omit the dredging process all together. It is really up to you!
Getting the crisp on
When you think of a dish that is saucy like this, crispy is not really something that is associated with that. On the contrary, in this Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia) the chicken remains with a lovely crispy skin that delivers in both texture and flavor, plus, it looks so beautiful all caramelized like that. Here is how we achieve that crispiness:
- Pour flour into a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good stir.
- Season both side of the chicken thighs also with salt and pepper.
- Dredge chicken in flour mixture and place onto a plate. Do all the thighs the same.
- Remember to shake off any excess flour before placing on the plate.
- Take one orange, wash it and dry it, cut off the ends, then slice it into thin rounds. Set aside on a board or plate.
Time to fry some chicken
The pan you want to use for this dish is a skillet, or cast iron. It is going to get nice and hot and stay very warm in the cooking process. Let's fry up these beautiful chicken thighs:
- heat up the olive oil in the skillet. We want it nice and hot. Then place thighs in skin side down. Let them sizzle until a lovely golden brown color happens. Then turn them over.
- Once you have the chicken crispy on all sides, throw in the shallots that you have chopped up. Give it a good stir to get all up in the juices and oil.
- In goes the wine, keeping the chicken skin side up, use a wooden spoon to stir up the sauce.
- Next, slice the orange in half and squeeze that wonderful juice in. Cut off he top of a garlic cluster and place it in the center with the chicken surrounding it. Break up the rosemary and sprinkle it over top.
- Let that simmer for about 10 minutes.
Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia). Color and flavor
Winter is long and plenty of grey days. It is nice to bring some color and brightness into the kitchen, and this dish absolutely delivers on those notes. Here are the finishing touches:
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F convection bake.
- Take your orange slices and place them into the skillet all around the chicken.
- Also, sprinkle in those beautiful plump fresh cranberries, if using. Give the sauce a try and see if the seasoning is up to par. If needed, sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
- Zest those orange halves, and sprinkle evenly overtop the pan.
- Time for this skillet to go onto the middle rack of the oven and cook until that thermometer reads 168° F.
The aroma in the kitchen is blissful and joyful. Orange or anything citrus always provokes a smile from me. However, taking this skillet out of the oven (remember to use an oven glove!) and seeing all those colors and textures, has that smile going from ear to ear. What do you think of this Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia)? Looks good? I am truly biased and it looks super fantastico to me!
Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia) the crisp is on
Look at the surface of those thighs. Does that not want to make you just reach in and eat it? You know by now, presentation is very important to us. Get a lovely oval serving dish, arrange the orange slices and place the chicken on them. Then, pour all that lovely sauce over it. I am salivating here and my stomach is doing a symphony. I just have to have a taste. Forks ready!
Wait a minute can't talk. I am reveling in this mouthful! That skin is so crispy and tasty and with the sauce, it delivers nothing but luxury to my taste buds. I taste the orange, wine, those shallots are like a marmalade. Wow, the cranberries are so plump and not really tart but just enough to balance the flavors.
Oh, better not forget the roasted garlic. Talk about sweet umami and so velvety. I am even eating the orange and it is so delicious with everything else on my fork. I am super pumped about this chicken, and can't wat to make this Skillet orange chicken thighs (Pollo all'arancia) for Nicoletta either in Italy or when she comes back!
Thank you so much for cooking with me today, I really enjoy sharing time with each and everyone of you in our kitchen. Gather the family, sit down and enjoy this wonderful dish.
Suggested side dishes
Storing and re-heating
Best stored in an air-tight container and in the fridge for a maximum of two days. To reheat, put chicken and sauce back into the skillet and heat in a preheated oven at 325° F.
- 4 chicken thighs
- ¾ cup flour (type "00" or all purpose)
- 2 Navel oranges
- 1 garlic cluster
- 1 small shallot chopped
- 2 Tbsp evo oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ cup fresh cranberries, optional
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Pour flour into a shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper, and give it a good stir.
- Season all sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and place into the bowl with the flour. Coat them well with the flour, and shake off any excess flour then place onto a dish.
- Take one orange wash and dry it. Cut off the ends and cut into thin rounds. Set aside.
- In a medium cast skillet heat up olive oil on high heat. Place thighs in skin side down and sear until you get a nice golden brown color. This takes 2 minutes or so.
- Turn chicken over and do the same. Once the thighs are all nice and crispy, toss in the chopped shallots, and stir with a wooden spoon, getting them all up into the juices and oil.
- Next pour in the wine and cut one orange in half. Squeeze all the juice into the skillet making sure to catch those seeds. Give it another good stir! Turn heat to low. Keep the chicken skin side up.
- Take a garlic cluster, cut off the top, and place it in the center with the chicken surrounding it.
- Break up the rosemary and sprinkle it over top. Taste the sauce for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Pre-heat oven to 375° F convection bake.
- Take those orange slices and place in the skillet all around the chicken. Make sure to embed them into the sauce.
- Sprinkle with the fresh cranberries. Also zest those orange halves and sprinkle over the top.
- Now time to put it into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the thigh reads 168° F.
- Take out of oven.
- Find a beautiful serving platter. Place orange slices all around the outside of the platter.
- Take chicken and put into the middle of the dish. Pour all that lovely sauce over top.
- Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.
- Ready to serve.
You can use whatever chicken parts you like, whether breasts, legs, wings, back. It is all good.
If you want it gluten free you can use rice flour or tapioca starch for the dredging process. Or don't dredge at all.
If your sauce reduces quite a bit you can add some water, or orange juice into the pan.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Main, Meat
- Method: Stovetop/oven
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Orange chicken, navel oranges, garlic, shallots, family meal, one pan recipe, rosemary, Italian cuisine, cranberries,
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.