Chicken with Orange Cilantro Relish

This recipe sounded so good in theory.

(And in the picture in my Good Housekeeping magazine certainly added to my excitement.)

Even better, was the fact that it was a healthy meal (something I need to work a tad harder at contributing around here).

(Though no one’s complaining too hard about the overabundance of bread and cookies lately.)

Now, I’m not saying I’m the best cook in the world, but I’m starting to be able to recognize a recipe that seems a little off; one that’s missing information or isn’t written as clearly as I need it to be.  So, as I worked through making this meal, I already had some questions of how it would turn out.

So I called on my trusty advisor (at least this week), Hubs, to help me interpret the instructions.

The Recipe:

Chicken with Orange Relish, adapted from Good Housekeeping, December 2011

4 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets

3/4 t grated, peeled fresh ginger

1 t ground ginger



1 large orange, peeled, de-pithed, and cut into segments

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 green onions, sliced

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 c cilantro, chopped

For Chicken:

Preheat oven to 425, spray cookie sheet (lined with foil) with non-stick spray.  Rub chicken with 1/2 t grated ginger and 1 t ground ginger.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.  Arrange on cookie sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes until no longer pink in center.

For Relish:

(You want to have all produce prepared before you put in the chicken and work on the relish.)  Place half of orange segments in saucepan and squeeze for juice.  Add remaining ingredients (except cilantro and extra oranges) and salt to taste.  Heat to boiling on high and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cook 7 minutes or until celery is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cilantro and reserved orange segments.

Serve chicken and relish over couscous.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I’m just going to come right out and say it: the relish was bitter, the onions were droopy, and the overall flavor just seemed off.  I was unpleasantly surprised by this turn of events, as it looked gorgeous while simmering away.

Now, Hubs was serving as my sous chef through all of this – and he agreed that I followed the recipe’s instructions exactly as written – but that they were not written well at all.

(By the way, I simplified and clarified the directions above for you all.  Not that I expect you to make it after reading this.)

I’m not sure what went wrong.  Maybe it was that my celery was bad (though it looked fine), or my replacement of apple cider vinegar for the originally called for red wine vinegar, or that too much pith got in my saucepan.  Something, though, caused the relish to turn out un-tasty (my new word for the day).

The chicken and couscous, though, turned out really well.  (I’d never cooked couscous before this meal.  I just followed the directions on the package.)

So, after I took the picture below and took a bite, I scraped off the relish and enjoyed the rest of the meal.

As we were sitting at the table, Hubs and I were talking about the real potential of this meal – about how a few tweaks could really make it great.  Hubs even went so far as to say that he could pretty much use the same ingredients and make it fantastic.

And I thought, what a great idea.  Challenge Accepted.

So, next week, we will be re-making this dish in the first ever “Hubs Re-Do Challenge.”  I will be assisting with ideas and as his sous chef.

I will share the results next week.

(Cross your fingers we don’t kill each other.)

But really, I am looking forward to this.


16 thoughts on “Chicken with Orange Cilantro Relish

    • I agree, in reading the recipe, all of the ingredients for the relish sound like they should be delicious together. So by eliminating the heat, you allow the vinegar to just macerate the fruit a bit. Also, if you don’t cook the relish, be sure to allow time for the all the flavors to mix and mingle with each other. I bet you would get a very different result. I’ll be curious to see how next week turns out!


  1. Mmm…the pic does look good!! I’d not cook the relish. Sometimes in the cooking down process the flavors might not blend all that well. I like a nice crisp relish over cooked meats. If cooked, it would be more like a chutney or sauce. But all around, it’s a great idea and I bet the chicken tasted wonderful. Can’t wait to see the redo!!


  2. Let’s hope the re-do isn’t too good. We don’t need gloating now, do we? 😉 I concur with the above “keep it fresh” suggestions. It’s so nice to a have a community like this to bounce ideas off of. Have a great weekend. Dreaming of making your shepherd bread (cinnamon style!) soon…


  3. Wow, ok, I got really excited when I saw the title… my suggestion would be in line with the others – do not cook the ingredients, just prepare and let them mellow together while the chicken cooks. I bet it will be delicious.


  4. I wouldn’t cook it at all…I’m not sure why they did?!?!? Leave it fresh! nom nom nom…and I would add some lime juice as suggested!! Can’t wait for the re-do! =)


  5. I think we’re all on the right page with not cooking the relish and also adding lime juice. I’d also suggest maybe subbing green onions for the white onions since they will have a milder flavor uncooked and not over power the oranges. Blood oranges are in season in our store and they would look really cool in this recipe. Can’t wait to see the results!


  6. That is awesome! I love the idea of a husband re-do! I can’t wait to see what he turns out. Now are you going to use apple cider vinegar again or will he use red wine vinegar? Looking forward to the results…it sounds very fun! 🙂


  7. I love the idea of a redo challenge! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    Oh, and I’m trying to post more healthy recipes too. My blog was starting to look very dessert-heavy. Ahem, so was I.


  8. Too bad the relish didn’t turn out as expected, sometimes the applecider vinegar can be over powering and I have to add sugar or stevia to sweeten or like you mentions the pilth from the orange. Either way this looks delish!

    Oh, so looking forward to your hubs redo challenge, though I am guessing they both will be equally delish!


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