Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dinner: Maple Orange Chicken Breasts

I made this tasty new recipe on Saturday night. This recipe is from a special publication (magazine) called America's Test Kitchen Fast & Fresh 64 suppers 30 minutes or less. I decided to try this recipe first because it called for fresh thyme and I still had some in my fridge from making Lemon Dijon Chicken.

I have found that recipes which require a quick sear on the meat in a fry pan and finishing in the oven, are easy on me and generally quite tasty. I used a nice heavy Lodge (American Made) cast iron skillet. Food in a non-stick skillet can not rival the lovely browning you get in cast iron. browning tastes good and builds flavor. Think of a plain piece of white bread & butter, it's OK, but toast it, get it nice and brown - and it's even better. Pan sauces take advantage of all the flavor you usually leave in the bottom of the pan, all those flavor packed little brown bits.
So enough snobby food talk. On to the recipe!

Maple Orange Chicken Breasts

1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, halved crosswise (hmmm I missed that detail)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1) Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk maple syrup, mustard, zest, vinegar, and thyme in medium bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

2) Heat oil in large heatproof skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken, skin-side down, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken skin-side up and transfer skillet to oven. Cook until chicken is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes (it took about 25 minutes with the whole chicken breasts.) Transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil.

3) Wearing oven mitt (pan handle will be very hot), pour off any fat in skillet. Add maple mixture to pan and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, until thick, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Off heat, return chicken to skillet and coat with glaze. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes.


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