Picture: Orange Tarragon Chicken Breast and Asparagus with toasted pecans
I always keep boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer for those nights when I don’t want to put too much effort or time into the meal. I just season the breasts with salt and pepper, fry them in a skillet with a little olive oil, then use a little liquid (preferably vermouth or bourbon) to deglaze the pan. Add a touch of butter and you have a nice sauce to pour over the chicken. Here is one of my favorite chicken breasts recipes.
Orange Tarragon Chicken Breast with Raisins Recipe
Prep and Cook time: 30 minutes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ cup vermouth or white wine
1 ½ Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
½ cup water
¼ cup raisins
½ tsp. dried tarragon or 1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
½ Tbsp. butter
- Salt and pepper the breasts on both sides.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, place the breasts in the skillet. Cook 8 – 10 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the breasts. To test for doneness, press on the thickest part of the breast with your finger. If it feels soft, cook another minute or two. If it feels firm, it’s done.
- When done, remove the breasts from the skillet, cover and keep warm. Pour half of the vermouth in the skillet and deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom.
- Add the orange juice concentrate, remaining vermouth, water, raisins and tarragon. Cook on medium-high, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until the raisins are soft and the sauce has thickened.
- Stir the butter into the sauce. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Coat the chicken with the sauce.
- Place each breast on a plate. Pour the sauce and raisins over the chicken breasts and serve. You may choose to slice the breasts before topping with the sauce.
The thicker the breast, the longer it will need to cook in order for the thickest part to cook through. This could cause the thinner section to overcook. Therefore, to provide for a more even cooking, you could pound the breast with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Just don’t go overboard. You don’t want a cutlet.
The deglazing and sauce liquids can be just about anything – vermouth, a little wine, bourbon, stock, juice, water or a combination of two or three. I’ve used them all. Sometimes when I get a salt craving I’ll use a little of the brine from a jar of capers or olives. Use the breasts seasoning and the other components of the meal to decide which liquids to use.
I always keep a can of orange juice concentrate in the freezer that I use strictly for cooking or salad dressings. That way I don’t have to keep a carton of orange juice in the fridge. (Bobby and I both prefer an orange to a glass of orange juice.) If you don’t have the concentrate you can substitute it and the water with a generous ½ cup of orange juice.
Below are some variations for skillet fried chicken breasts. The prep and seasonings differ, but the method of cooking is the same.
Bourbon and Cranberry Sauce – Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook. Make a sauce of minced onion, cranberries, crumbled sage, bourbon and apple juice (or water).
Garlic stuffed Chicken Breasts – Make four slots in the side of each breast with a paring knife. Insert ½ of a roasted garlic clove into each slot. Season the breasts with Creole seasoning and cook. Deglaze the pan with your liquid of choice and add a little butter to finish off the sauce.
The Easiest of all – Salt and pepper each breast, cook, deglaze with your liquid of choice.
Asparagus with toasted pecans (shown in the picture)
Asparagus, green beans, or yellow squash fixed your favorite way
Couscous, grilled polenta or rice
A green salad with a few fixings and a simple dressing
This orange chicken with raisins recipe has been linked up to Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Food Corner’s Midweek Fiesta, Whole Food Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Made With Love Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday. Be sure to click on the links for a variety of fabulous recipes!