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Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Orange-Brandy Sauce

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Serves six.

  • by Joanne Weir from Fine Cooking
    Issue 97

A quick soak in an orange juice brine infuses the chicken with lots of flavor. You’ll need a total of about 9 medium oranges for this recipe.

For the chicken
  • 2 cups fresh navel or Valencia orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 6- to 7-oz. boneless, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 1 cup fresh navel or Valencia orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 navel or Valencia orange, cut into segments, segments cut into thirds
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Brine the chicken

Combine the orange juice, zest, 6 Tbs. salt, and 4 cups water in a large bowl or pot; stir to dissolve the salt. Add the chicken breasts and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Cook the chicken

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the chicken skin side down in a snug single layer and cook until the skin is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper, and put the pan in the oven. Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in the center of the thickest breast, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the chicken to a carving board, tent with foil, and let rest while you make the sauce.

Make the sauce

Pour the juices from the skillet into a heatproof measuring cup. Let the fat rise to the surface and then spoon it off.

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the brandy. Return the pan to the heat and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the brandy has almost evaporated, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high and add the orange juice. Boil until thick and syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, pan juices, and any juices from the carving board. Boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 3 minutes.

Swirl in the orange segments. Then, off the heat, swirl in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and the parsley until the butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and a few grinds of pepper.

To serve, cut the chicken on the diagonal into thin slices and arrange on 6 serving plates. Drizzle with the sauce.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 380; Fat (g): 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 38; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 9; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 550; Cholesterol (mg): 120; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is my new favorite recipe. I serve it with a vege and rice pilaf.

I enjoyed the dish, but it sounded so much better than it tasted. I think I was expecting the flavor to be bolder. It had a very fresh and light flavor, so would be a nice summer dish. I think I just wanted more pizzaz given the time it took to zest and juice the oranges! I might give it another try.

I first tasted this as a guest at a dinner party. I made it myself last night, and it came out very well. Next time I will use skinless chicken breast as well.

Delicious. I used skinless chicken breasts and brined for about an hour less. The sauce was delectable. It was easy with easy clean-up, and relatively minimal prep work. I served it with mashed potatoes and spinach, and loved it!

This was a great dish. My husband loved it. I was not able to find boneless chicken breast with skin on so elected to use the skinless variety. They worked just fine-browned up nicely in the pan. Great citrusy flavor but not sweet-just right.

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